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The Armenian cucumber is thin, elongated, curved and often irregularly curled with a dark green to creamy pistachio colored skin that is textured with smooth longitudinal furrows. Its flesh is crisp, succulent and mildly flavored, similar to a common cucumber. Ideal sized Armenian cucumbers will range in length from 10-15 inches. Longer cucumbers will tend to be not just over-sized, but also overly mature with less moisture content. The Armenian cucumber is entire edible.
Armenian cucumbers are available in summer. You can find Armenian cucumbers at your local farmers markets.
The Armenian cucumber, AKA Yard-long melon and Snake melon, is defined within culinary terms by its appearance, however, it is botanically classified as a melon. Its scientific name is Cucumis melo var. flexuosus and it is a member of C. Pepo family along with muskmelons and honeydew melons. The Armenian cucumber is actually the fruit of a flowering and tendril-bearing vine. The fruit, by definition, is the part of the plant that bears its seeds. There are several different cultivars of the Armenian cucumber, which will determine its coloring and size at maturity.
There is no need to peel the Armenian cucumber. Its thin skin makes it an ideal fresh slicing cucumber. Armenian cucumbers favor being served raw in green leaf, chopped salads and pasta salads. Their delicate flavor allows them to become a perfect textural component in sandwiches and sushi. They can be sliced lengthwise, widthwise, diced and julienned. The Armenian cucumber can be grilled, puréed or pickled. Complimentary ingredients include red and white fish, shellfish, chiles, tomatoes, mint, oregano, yogurt, garlic, cumin, chicken, pork and fresh cheeses such as feta and chevre. Armenian cucumbers should be refrigerated until ready to use. Once cut wrap in plastic to extend its shelf life.
As its name suggests, the Armenian Cucumber is native to Armenia. Its initial cultivation is dated back to the 15th Century, which puts it into the category of ancestral varieties. This takes greater historical precedent over heirloom. Ancestral varieties were introduced into the human diet when the only foods eaten were whole, unprocessed, easier to digest and metabolize, generally predating the 19th century. Today, ironically, or perhaps because of migration and the natural distribution of food that follows, the Armenian cucumber can be found growing more in California than in Armenia. The Armenian cucumber, like many cucumbers and melons, are frost sensitive, thus require a planting period during Spring. Full sun and warm Summers bring prolific harvests into fall.
Recipes that include Armenian Cucumber. One is easiest, three is harder.
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