The Best Cucumbers for Eating or Pickling

By on July 18, 2013

Tricia is harvesting cucumbers in her organic garden. She teaches you how to plant and grow them in our new video.

Plant different cucumber varieties for eating and pickling. When choosing cucumbers, the question is really “to burp, or not to burp?”

Cucumbers that make you burp are the ones that make great pickles; the burpiness means they have higher levels of cucurbitacin. Cucumbers that are best eaten fresh are called “burpless”, “eating”, or “slicers”, since so many of us slice them into salads or onto sandwiches. The refreshing aroma of cucumber says summer, and it’s the second most popular vegetable with home gardeners (after King Tomato, of course).

In our new video Tricia plants and grows cucumbers (and fights pests organically). Tricia likes pickling cucumbers, but most gardeners want eating cukes too.

armenian cucumbers

Grow these cucumbers for fresh-from-the-garden flavors

The striped Armenian cucumbers shown above are a prized variety for eating and slicing (without burping). Suyo Long grows up to 16 inches of burpless tenderness. The celebrated Straight Eight is reliable and smooth, with heavy yields. Plus, it’s easy to slice in a mandoline. Lemon cucumbers are round and yellow just as their name would suggest. Their delicate skin and light flavor mean lemon cucumbers often get eaten in the garden. Sumter is a disease-resistant cuke that does well in many climates.

Grow these cucumbers for the perfect crunchy pickle

weck asparagus jarOkay, we made this one easy for you. If you want great pickles, you get a big hint if the word “pickle” is in the cucumber seed’s name! Homemade Pickles grows 5 to 6 inches long. Feeling patriotic? National Pickling came from research sponsored by the National Pickle Packers Association and works both when picked gherkin-small at 2 to 3 inches, or at standard 5 to 6 inches. We have a handsome, BPA-free Weck jar that’s outstanding for pickles.

Cucumbers that play on both teams

Some burpless cucumbers also make good pickles. They call the variety Muncher because it’s good straight from the vine, but it’s also a nice pickler if you pick it small (4 to 6 inches). Tendergreen is a burpless and you can grow it to 8 inches as a slicer, but if you want to pickle it just harvest the cukes when they’re small.

Cucumber vocabulary

Spines  The prickly hairs on certain cucumbers can certainly make their presence felt, as in you might need to wear garden gloves when you harvest your crop. The flavors of some spiny cucumbers make that little inconvenience worthwhile.

Stippling  Those little bumps on some cucumber skins (shown above) have a special name. When reading seed pack information about cucumbers, watch for this word, if the bumpiness is a pro or a con for you.

Cucurbit  Cucumbers are in the cucurbit family, along with pumpkins, squash, and melons. Why do you need to know that? First, because the name is fun to say. Second, because you can avoid many soil borne diseases if you rotate your crops and don’t replant family members in the same place for 3 years. We have an intro to vegetable families and crop rotation here.

For more information

Check out our video where professional cooking teachers show you How to Make Dill Pickles.

More cucumber articles in our Organic Gardening Resource Center:

How to prevent (or fix) the bitter flavor in cucumbers

How to make your pickles crisp

And a pickling safety tip too

We recommend the booklet Favorite Pickles & Relishes. If you want a longer resource on pickling, fermenting, and preserving take a look at our carefully selected set of books on those homesteading topics.

Choose the right cucumber seeds for your cucumber eating and pickling needs!

  Comments (5)


I’ve found the best pickling cucumber is County Fair, primarily because it is the only cucumber resistant to bacterial wilt.

Posted by Brad Lucht on Jul. 19, 2013 at 6:20:42 PM

Brad, Thank you for that info! We have also read that Cross Country is resistant to bacterial wilt.

Posted by on Aug. 07, 2013 at 3:09:55 PM


County Fair is genuiney resistant to CMV.  It is certified as such after passing USDA trials.  Developed at U of Wisconsin, first in 1975, improved in 1985 an now as County Fair 87.  This variety had < 12 mortality in trials where other common varieties had 100% loss.  Great as a pickle (picked small at 3 to 4”) or let them go to 6” to 8” as a slicer.

Posted by George on Mar. 15, 2014 at 5:37:25 PM


I’ve grown Suyo long cukes for a few years now and they are, hands down, my favorite for both eating or pickling.
They make great slices for bread and butter pickles and uniform spears for dill pickles.
I live in a cool climate so I grow these vertically in my greenhouse along with tomatoes and peppers.
They are relatively care free for me, heavy feeders too. Fish emulsion brings another crop of fruit after the first flush of fruit.

Posted by Jean on May. 02, 2014 at 5:36:19 PM


my favorite is “Cool Breeze” for eating.  very prolific and tasty smile

Posted by Tina on May. 03, 2014 at 3:36:27 PM

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