Don't use just any old Cucumber in your Sushi!
(There is a difference...)

Find out which ones to use,  why you want to use them, and how to prepare them properly before you put them in your sushi...

English or hothouse cucumber
English or hothouse cucumber
Japanese cucumber

Been laying awake late at night wondering which cucumbers you should use in your sushi?

Didn't think so :-)

But you probably should. You see they are not all created equally. Bascially you have 2 choices:

1. Pick one that you don't have to skin and deseed but is generally a little less flavorful or

2. Pick one that is a little more flavorful, but you have to skin and deseed it.

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Cucumbers you don't have to skin or deseed

The English or hot house (leftmost and middle pictures above) and Japanese (rightmost pictures above) varieties belong in this category. They have a thinner skin and little or no seeds.

These are probably the ones most commonly used in sushi despite a slight drop in flavor because they don't have to be peeled and deseeded and also because having the skin on provides a nicer visual appeal in the finished slices.

The English come with a plastic wrapper so that they don't have to have a wax coating and also to improve shelf life. The Japanese look similar to the English ones but with bumps.

For sushi, these are the ones I prefer to use.

Cucumbers that you do have to skin and deseed

Garden cucumbers

The most common variety in this category that you will most likely find in your local grocery store will be the garden (above). I will use this one if I can't find an English or Japanese one.

This one usually has a thicker skin that can be bitter if it is not peeled off (or at least scrubbed) and normally comes waxed to improve shelf life. They should also be deseeded before use (just look at how big the seeds are (above) and how much of the center is taken up by them). Just split them down the middle and scoop out the seeds.

The visual appeal and texture won't be as striking without the dark green skin against the white flesh, but the flavor might be a little better.

If you are conflicted, you may just want to try both kinds and see which you like better. 

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Why and how to Salt scrub your Cucumbers

When I was growing up, I saw my mother do this every time she prepared cucumbers...whether for sushi or to soak in a vinegar mixture to snack on. She said that it took the bitterness out of the them. So, being a product of my environment,  I never questioned it and have religiously done it myself ever since. 

I have tested doing it versus not doing it and to me they are better when they are salt scrubbed. And the salt also brightens them up and makes them greener too.

This is what you need to do.

Salt scrubbing english cucumber

1. Wash the cucumber under cool water and then take about a teaspoon of salt and rub it with both hands pretty vigorously. When done, rinse the salt off. 

Cutting end off of English cucumber to salt scrub it

2. Cut one end off. 

Taking the bitterness out of an English cucumber by rubbing the end in a circular motion with the tip

3. Take the end that you just cut off and move it in a circular motion over the cut off end (see picture above) until it starts foaming pretty good. (its kinda neat actually...)

4. Cut the other end off, repeat and make it foam too. When done, rinse one more time.  

That's it!

Now you can slice it up as needed for your recipe. 

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David Guthrie, EzineArticles Basic Author