Japanese cucumber is a variety of the cucumber we all know and use that’s popular in Japan and that was produced there and now is used across the world. It’s milder in taste than western cucumbers and they are usually smaller in size.
They also don’t contain any seeds on the inside of the plant. That’s actually the feature that’s preventing them from becoming bitter in taste. They are available all year round.
Japanese Cucumber Trivia
- It’s a part of the same family as a watermelon
- They are often a part of a favorite street fast food in Japan
- Japanese Cucumber actually originates from China
Japanese Cucumber Buying Guide
The cucumbers are supposed to be bright green and firm to the touch. The skin should be without black spots, blemishes and strange outgrows. When you notice yellow spots on the cucumber, that means that they have become too ripe.
You should also try to smell the cucumbers before you buy them because if they are fresh they wouldn’t have any smell, while older ones start to emit and odor.
Japanese Cucumber Production & Farming in Texas
For the most part Japanese cucumbers could be found in Japanese shops in the US. There’s some chance you may find them in better equipped farmers market regardless of who their owners are. In many communities, farmers have started selling these cucumbers directly from their gardens.
Japanese cucumbers need lots of sunlight and that’s why Texas is such a great place for them to be grown. They are damaged by even the lightest of frost. That too is a good match for Texas since it has such mild winters.
The soil need to be moist but also well drained. You’ll need to spend most of your time and effort as well as resources on watering the cucumbers. It’s also important to mulch the soil in order to prevent the water from draining and evaporating too fast.
Harvesting should be done when the cucumbers seem to be large and plumb enough for them to be picked and shipped to the market. For Japanese cucumbers that is somewhere at ¼ inches by 18 inches since that’s how large average of these cucumbers should be.
The biggest issues you’ll have to deal with is the moisture consistency and some beetles that are prone to attacking these cucumbers in particular.
Cucumbers are a part of the dirty dozen vegetables. That means they are considered to be healthy and good for you but they are also sprayed with quite a lot of pesticides that stay on them for a long time, due to the quality of their skin.
Early Japanese cucumbers were developed in Japan with the variety cultivators coming from Chinese. They are mostly used in Japan for pickling, but they could also be used raw and as a part of salads and sandwiches. They are served as a side dish or as a quick snack mostly from street vendors in Japan.
They are now grown and sold where ever there’s a Japanese population in the world and that’s pretty much everywhere. They are especially popular in the southern US and in Brazil both of which have a large Japanese minority.
There’s not too much to worry about when it comes to packaging cucumbers because of their skin which acts as a protective film on its own. The cucumbers are mostly packed in open cardboard boxes and shipped that way to the stores and markets (where they are mostly sold).
In some cases, they are individually wrapped in plastic but that’s done less and less these days. There are some markets that sprinkle them with water in order to keep them looking fresh for a longer period of time.
Enjoying Japanese Cucumbers
The most common way to eat Japanese cucumbers is to pickle them and to use them as a part of salad. The term for this in Japanese is sunomono which means vinegared food. Other than that you can also use them in any type of salad in which you would use ordinary cucumbers.
You will need:
Wakame> 20-30 g
Salt> 2 pinches
Sugar> 1 tablespoon
Rice vinegar> 4 tablespoons
Soy sauce> 1/2 teaspoon
Step 1: soak the wakame in water and thinly slice the cucumber, then sprinkle salt over the cucumber Step 2: mix together the sugar, vinegar, salt and soy sauce
Step 3: Remove the water from the Wakame and squeeze the water out of the cucumber slices
Step 4: Mix everything together and add the sesame seeds
Optional: you may also add some crab meat or octopus as shown on the picture above
Cucumbers could be stored at room temperatures or in the panties and storage rooms without having to cool them what so ever. At the same time, you could store them in a less cold part of fridge meaning the door or the storage areas that are often opened.
They should be kept far away from vegetables and fruits such as bananas, tomatoes, and melons, because being close to them will make them ripen faster due to the exposure to the chemical called ethylene.
There are many ways to enjoy these cucumbers other than pickling them. They are a great addition to a miso based dip. Since miso is salty it deepens the qualities of the cucumber. Miso is protein rich, has lots of vitamins and is said to have cancer-fighting agents.
You could also make a dish that requires pickling beforehand. It takes about five minutes to make. Add roughly the same amount of vinegar, soy sauce and sugar to make the pickling sauce. Add a little salt and mix everything in a zip-lock bag. Refrigerate for a while and your pickles are done!
Cucumbers have a very high water content, very few calories, lots of fiber, and a whole range of vitamins and minerals. Their hydrating quality is important for healthy skin, and two compounds in them, ascorbic acid and caffeic acid, prevent water retention and explain why sliced cucumbers are often used topically for swollen eyes, burns, and other skin problems. Munching on a cucumber every day is an easy, cooling way to add both fiber and water to the diet. Studies have also shown that adding foods high in potassium, magnesium and fiber, such as cucumbers, helps keep blood pressure at healthy levels.
Cucumbers consist mostly of water, and they also contain important electrolytes. They can help prevent dehydration in hot weather or after a workout. For people who do not enjoy drinking water, adding cucumber and mint can make it more attractive. Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining a healthy intestine, preventing constipation, avoiding kidney stones, and more.
When Are Japanese Cucumbers in Season in Texas?
To find out when Japanese Cucumbers are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.