Japanese Cucumbers: in album cucumbers
|Jul 9th, 2011, by Alex Zorach|
These Japanese cucumbers were for sale at the Urban Girls Produce stand at Clark Park Farmer's Market in West Philadelphia. If you want to see what they look like sliced, I also have a photo of a sliced Japanese cucumber, one purchased from this same stand.
Japanese cucumbers are a variety of cucumber that has a long, narrow shape; they are not widely available in the U.S., although they are commonly used throughout Asia. In a sense, replacing Japanese cucumbers with Western cucumbers results in "inauthentic" cuisine, but the difference between the two is very subtle, unlike, say, the difference between Western broccoli and Chinese broccoli.
Typically, ones for sale are straighter than these, like one in the picture. However, these were mostly curved around in strange ways. They are similar to normal cucumbers, but tend to be seedless or near-seedless, owing to their narrowness, much like pickling cucumbers or the narrow hydroponic cucumbers available at most supermarkets.
One distinctive feature about these cucumbers, which can throw one for a loop, are the thorns. Cucumbers have small thorns, which can be somewhat painful, but I find that the thorns on these cucumbers are considerably sharper and more pain-inducing than those on other varieties. They also tend to have more thorns. Be careful when handling them, and make sure to remove the thorns before eating them.