Whenever somebody calls for some pickles, we automatically think of pickled cucumbers. Cucumber has become a synonym for pickle and is widely served as a pickle worldwide. But are cucumbers and pickles the same?
The answer to this question is a big no! Cucumber and pickle are two entirely different condiments with different tastes and health benefits. But if you think they are the same and need some clarity on this topic, give this article a read!
Cucumber is a vegetable (botanically a fruit) with a mild flavor profile. It is often used for cooking, including pickles, sandwiches, and salads. However, pickle is a different dish on its own. It refers to any food item preserved using vinegar or any brine solution.
In this article, we will discuss the difference between the two in length. Not just are we talking about the differences, but we are also going to see the taste, uses nutritional benefits, and recipes to try with these ingredients. If you want more details about cucumber and pickle, give this article a read!
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Cucumber Vs. Pickle | Difference Table
|Basis of Difference||Cucumber||Pickle|
|Origin/ Native||South Asia||Derived from ancient culture|
|Family||Cucurbitacacecae||Preserved food item|
|Available in||Fresh / Pickled form||Brine solution / Vinegar Solution|
|Tastes||Fresh, crispy with mild sweetness.||Sour and salty with a slightly acidic taste|
|Appearance||Elongated cylindrical shape with green skin color.||Soft|
|Usage||Can be eaten on its own or as a part of salads or pickles.||Used as a side dish for many dishes.|
|Nutrition||Contains a high amount of water content.||Great source of vitamins A, K, calcium, and potassium|
|Substitute||Zucchini, radish, celery, fennel, iceberg lettuce, jicama, and green papaya are the most suitable substitutes.||Takuan, crunchy plums, salted cabbages, capers, fukujinzuke, and red ginger are some of the most suitable pickle substitutes.|
What Is Cucumber?
Cucumis Sativus, commonly known as cucumber, is a widely used culinary ingredient and belongs to the cucurbitacacecae family. Due to its common usage in salads and pickles, it is often considered a vegetable, but in reality, it’s a fruit!
Cucumbers are often green in color with a green cylindrical shape. It is said to be a native of South Asia and has spread all across the world. Now, cucumber has become a part of many people’s daily diets.
Regarding nutrients, cucumber has a very high level of water amount int. It also has a very crunchy taste making it a perfect addition to all kinds of salads, dips, sandwiches, and chicken dishes.
There are hundreds of varieties of cucumber available to us. In this section, we will see some of the most popular cucumber varieties.
- English Cucumber – They are also known as seedless cucumber, burpless, greenhouse, and European cucumber. They are long and slender in shape with thick green skin. They are comparatively smaller, with a slightly sweet taste and almost no seeds. Moreover, their skin isn’t bitter at all. Hence while adding to any dishes, there is no need to peel them off. These make them a perfect addition to all kinds of dishes, including salads and sandwiches.
- White Cucumber – As its name suggests, white cucumber has white skin. They are almost similar in taste to English cucumbers; it is just that it’s more aesthetically beautiful to look at! It can be eaten on its own or can be added to dishes.
- Persian Cucumber – This kind of cucumber is smaller in size. They are small and slender and have very light skin. They are just like English cucumbers and are almost seedless. They are expensive.
- Garden Cucumber – These cucumbers are commonly found in North America. Unlike English cucumbers, they have very dark colored green skin. Their skin is bitter and has considerably large seeds. Hence it would be idle to remove both skin and seeds of garden cucumber before cooking with them.
- Lemon Cucumbers – Just as its name suggests, lemon cucumber looks like a little lemon. They are round and yellow and are the size of a tennis bowl. They are sweet and mild with a crispy texture and are great for salads and pickling. Not just that, they are extremely easy to grow and look more like an ornamental plants in your garden.
- Kirby Cucumber – These have a bumpy outer texture and firm flesh. They are small and super crunchy and are idle for salad making. They are the most preferred cucumbers for pickling.
- Gherkins – Also known as Cornichons, these are small in size and are often referred to as baby cucumbers. They are mostly used for pickling and are a perfect companion for many dishes.
- Armenian Cucumber – These cucumbers are known by many names. They are widely called snake cucumber, yard-long cucumber, and snake melon. They have light green skin color and are very long.
In reality, they aren’t cucumbers but musk melons. However, they taste just like cucumber and are hence known as Armenian cucumber.
Cucumber, as we have said, is widely used in fresh and pickled forms, and both have different culinary uses. While fresh cucumbers are more crispy, pickled cucumbers are more flavorful.
What Is Pickle?
Pickle is essentially the name of a food item that follows the pickling process. The pickling process is an ancient method used to preserve food materials.
It extends the shelf life of the food either by fermenting them in a brine solution or preserving them in vinegar.
Anything can be pickled. It can be fruits, vegetables, fish, or even meat items. Pickling changes the texture and taste of the food to a great extent. Most pickles will be sour with a good amount of salt taste.
Pickling solutions often have a highly acidic nature and prevent the growth of microorganisms that perish the food materials. Along with the main ingredient of pickling, many other ingredients like mustard seeds, ginger, and garlic cloves are added to the solution to enhance the flavor.
On the other hand, if the pickled ingredient contains enough water, adding some salt will make the pickle as the salt withdraws the water of the ingredient. In such cases, natural fermentation takes place.
Pickling is practiced all across the world. Each country has its own way of pickling. Kosher cucumber in New York, miso pickle in Japan, Kimchi in Korea, and corned beef in Iceland are some of the most famous pickles known to all.
Below are some of the most common varieties of pickles available to us.
- Garlic Pickle – Garlic, as we all know, is extremely nutrient rich in nature. However, eating it as it is can be a little hard due to its raw taste. Hence try pickling them and enjoy their salty, garlicky flavor along with your favorite dish.
- Mango Pickles – Mangoes are seasonal fruit. If you are a fan of raw mango, then pickling them is the best way to preserve them. You can either pickle them in a brine solution or even in vinegar. If pickled in the right way, pickled mangoes remain crisp and flavorful for more than a year.
- Bread & Butter Pickles – These are the pickles we often see stacked inside sandwiches and burgers. They would have a light sweetness to them. This flavor comes with sweet onion that is used along with vinegar, sugar, and salt.
Cucumber Vs. Pickle | Similarities Between The Two
Before jumping into some of the major differences between cucumber and pickle, here are some of the similarities between the two.
Cucumber Is The Most Pickled Fruit
As we have already said, anything can be pickled. However, people worldwide use cucumber for pickling. Thus when we say pickle, a pickled cucumber comes to our mind.
Both Are Used In Salads
Both cucumbers and pickles are widely used in salads. Both fresh cucumbers, as well as pickled cucumbers are widely used in salads.
Cucumber Vs. Pickle | What Are The Major Differences?
Even though many people mean pickled cucumber by just saying pickle, as we have said, pickle isn’t a synonym for cucumber. There are a lot of differences between cucumber and pickle. In this section, we will see some of the major differences between the two.
The origin of cucumber is said to be in South Asia. But due to its flavor and ease of use, it has been used worldwide. Now we have different cucumber varieties available in different parts of the world.
Pickling, on the other hand, has a long history of origin. The exact place which involved this process cannot be pinpointed. However, archaeologists have found evidence of people practicing this technique dating back to 2000 years.
2. Taste And Aroma
Cucumber has a mildly sweet flavor to them with a crispy texture. Cucumbers can be eaten with or without peeling the skin, depending on whether it’s bitter. They have a fresh, slight aroma that is not very pronounced.
Pickle, on the other hand, has a sour and salty taste. Depending upon the kind of pickle, the intensity of sourness or saltiness can be changed. Some kinds of pickles also use little sugar, making them slightly sweeter.
You can quickly identify cucumbers and pickles based on their appearance. Cucumbers have a long and elongated cylindrical shape. They are whole fruit. On the other hand, pickles are small pieces of fruit or vegetables and will be slightly brown in color.
4. Culinary Usage
Cucumbers are a very versatile fruit that can be added to various dishes. They are widely used for picking as well as for salads. They can be eaten on their own and go well with most meat and fish dishes.
Freshly cut cucumbers are very crispy in nature and have a very minimal flavor. Thus it goes well with a variety of dishes. They are widely used for making smoothies and can also be used in making appetizers.
On the other hand, pickles are widely used as a side dish. They can also be mixed with salad bowls or made a part of sandwiches and burgers. Pickled dishes also serve great as a side dish for many drinks.
Cucumber is an excellent addition to your diet, considering its nutritional profile. It has a good amount of water content and dietary fiber and a very low-calorie count. It is also a great vitamin K, vitamin C, sodium, and potassium source.
Pickles also have a lot of nutritional content. Just like cucumber, pickles are all water with zero fat or protein. The nutritional value may change depending on the type of ingredients we use for pickling.
Pickles are a great source of vitamins A, K, calcium, and potassium. Fermented pickles like miso and kimchi are a great source of probiotics and are good for your gut health.
Now that we have discussed the uses and nutrition of both cucumber and pickle, you might want to have some for your lunch. But what to do if you are out of both ingredients? I would say look for some substitutes.
Regarding cucumber, zucchini, radish, celery, fennel, iceberg lettuce, jicama, and green papaya are the most suitable substitutes. Most of them have a mild flavor and crunchy texture similar to cucumber.
Pickles bring in a sour and salty flavor to our dishes. Hence, pickles, takuan, crunchy plums, salted cabbages, capers, fukujinzuke, and red ginger are some of the most suitable pickle substitutes.
7. Sustainability Requirements
A cucumber, as we have already said, is a fruit. Hence, if they are not kept properly, they perish within a few days. To keep them fresh for a longer period, it is advisable to keep them in the refrigerator.
Pickles, on the other hand, can be preserved for a longer period. In fact, pickles are made to improve the longevity of fruits, vegetables, meat, and chicken dishes. If kept properly, pickles would be fit for eating for years.
8. Health Benefits
Pickles and cucumbers have been a part of our daily diet for a long time. Both of these dishes have many health benefits, making them a people’s favorite worldwide.
If you are into maintaining a healthy diet, you must have had cucumbers in many ways. Cucumbers are high in dietary fiber, and anybody can consume low in calories at any point in time.
If you are someone who suffers from diverticulitis, then you must include cucumber in your food. Cucumbers are known to ease diverticulitis. Cucumbers are also rich in antioxidants and help to prevent the growth of free radicals in our bodies.
Cucumber doesn’t contain any sugar and is anti-starchy in nature. Thus if you are someone who suffers from diabetes, cucumber is the one fruit you can have as much as you want! Not just that, since it has high water content, it keeps your body hydrated.
Pickle also has many health benefits. Fermented pickles have a high amount of probiotics and are good for your gut health. Pickles are also a great source of beta keratin with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Can Cucumber And Pickle Be Used Together?
Yes. Cucumbers and pickles can be used together. While cucumber brings a crunchy taste to your food, pickle has a sour and salty flavor.
However, since cucumber is the most commonly used fruit for pickling, other than using two different things, people use a single pickled cucumber in their dishes.
There are only a few recipes that use both of them together. Given below is one such recipe which uses both of these together.
Tzatziki Potato Salad
If you like potatoes and cucumber, this tzatziki potato salad is the ideal recipe for you. It brings in the flavors of tomato, crunchiness of cucumber, and salty sourness of pickle in a single recipe.
This recipe’s main ingredients are potatoes, fresh and pickled cucumber, chopped red onion, garlic, lemon juice, sugar, yogurt, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. To make this recipe, bake the potatoes, remove their skin, and mix it with all other ingredients.
Top Dishes To Make With Cucumber
If you have some cucumbers and are confused about what to make with them, here are some dishes to try with cucumbers as one of their main ingredients. Most dishes are easy to make and extremely healthy and delicious.
1. Greek Salad
Traditionally known as horiatiki, Greek salad is one of the easiest and healthiest salads you could have! This is a Mediterranean dish and can be cooked in under 15 minutes. So if you are looking for an easy, healthy salad recipe, try this out.
For this recipe, we need cherry tomatoes, cucumber, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and red onions. To make some salad dressing, mix red wine vinegar, fresh lemon juice, oregano, and olive oil.
2. Watermelon Gazpacho
The summer is coming, and if there is anything you need to try this summer, try making this watermelon gazpacho soup. This gave the perfect burst of flavors to refresh your mood.
As we all know, Gazpacho uses tomato as its main ingredient, but adding some cucumber and watermelon could bring some new flavors. It adds a subtle sweetness and melon flavor to the dish, making it more delicious.
The ingredient list for this recipe is a little long. We need cucumbers, watermelon, bell pepper, tomatoes, olive oil, sherry vinegar, jalapenos, salt, and pepper. To make this recipe, thinly slice the cucumber and divide them into two portions.
Mix one portion with all other ingredients and give it a good blend. Once it’s nicely done, refrigerate it and serve it in a bowl along with some bread and chopped cucumbers.
3. Cucumber Raita
If you plan to cook a spicy hot dish, then you need to try cucumber raita to tame the heat! This is an easy South Asian recipe and goes well as a side dish to most dishes, especially spicy food.
To make this recipe, just heat some fennel seeds in a pan and crush them. Add yogurt, chopped cucumber, salt, chili powder, cilantro, and crushed fennel seeds in another bowl. Give them a good whisk and serve them as a side dish.
4. California Sushi Bites
Want to experience the taste of sushi without too much work? Then, try these easy California sushi bites. It uses cucumber as its base, and we only need a handful of ingredients. It is extremely tasty as well as delicious.
For this recipe, smash some avocados with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Cut the cucumber into big rounds and top it off with avocado mix. In another bowl, combine mayonnaise, crab meat, and sriracha.
Add some crab mix to every cucumber slice on top of the avocado mix. Season them with white sesame seeds and serve with soy sauce.
5. Salt And Vinegar Cucumber Chips
If you are into dieting, ditch your high car potato chips with these easy and flavorful cucumber chips. To make this recipe, preheat the oven to 225 and bake sliced cucumber for 1 hour.
Once it’s done, toss some garlic powder, salt, and pepper for taste and start eating!
Top Dishes To Make With Pickles
If you are someone like me who is obsessed with pickles, then this is the recipe you should try! Pickles are simple ingredients that could easily bring a lot of flavors into your dish.
1. Cheeseburger Pizza
Cheeseburger pizzas are great on their own. However, the best way to enhance its flavor is by adding some extra cheese to them. But you know what makes them even better? Top them off with some pickled cucumbers.
The cheese pulls along with some sourness of pickles, making pizza taste even better.
2. Dilly Potatoes And Egg Salad
This dilly potato and egg salad is the idle way to calm all our hunger and potato craving. This recipe is extremely easy to make and can be cooked in under an hour. As its name suggests, it uses pickled dill, potatoes, and egg as its main ingredient.
Other than that, we also need some onion, mayonnaise, celery seeds, salt, pepper, and some paprika. Boil potatoes and egg and chop them into small pieces.
In a bowl, mix all other ingredients with potatoes and eggs. The Salad is ready to serve.
3. Tarter Tote Bakes
This tarter tote bakes is the perfect evening snack recipe your kids would love. It is easy to make and is too flavorful to be missed. For making this recipe, cook beef with onion and salt. Drain the excess water from it.
Transfer this to a baking bowl, and add some tarter toes, soup, milk, and potatoes. Cover them with some cheese and bake them. Serve them with some pickled vegetables.
4. Beef Sandwiches
Beef sandwiches are crowd-pleasers, and there is no doubt about that. But adding some pickled dilly and dilly juice could make your dish much better.
Just conventionally make the beef sandwich, and add some pickled dill pickles along with the fillings.
5. Pickle Dip
It’s an easy-to-make pickle dip and is the perfect addition to many dishes. It can be served as a side dish or as a filling to your favorite sandwiches. The ingredients needed for making this recipe are also limited.
Mix cream cheese, diced pickle, and cooked and diced beef. Chill them until they are served.
Cucumber Vs. Pickle | Which Is Healthier?
Now that we have read so much about cucumber and pickle, it’s time to decide the best among them. When comparing cucumber and pickle, we could say that cucumber is way more healthy than that pickle.
Cucumber is rich in nutrients and low in calories and can be consumed daily. Even though pickles are great, it is not advisable to consume them every day.
Cucumber Vs. Pickle | Which Is Tastier?
When it comes to taste, we have to give in to pickles. Pickles are extremely flavorful and come in such a wide variety of tastes. There are sour, salty, and even sour and sweet pickles. Thus, we could say that there is a pickle for everyone’s flavor.
Cucumber Vs. Pickle | Which Is More Versatile?
The cucumber is more versatile than the pickle. Different varieties of cucumber are available to us, and they can be used to make a wide variety of dishes and drinks. Not just that, they are perfect for drinks and even can be eaten on their own.
Cucumber Vs. Pickle | Which Is Better?
Now that we have reached the end of this discussion, it’s time for us to decide the best of the two. Considering its taste, variety, and nutritional benefits, we could say that cucumber is better than a pickle in all aspects.
We have now concluded our topic on cucumber vs. pickle, and I am certain that we have learned a great deal about both of them. Now that we know the key distinctions between them, we can employ them effectively in recipes.
Both cucumber and pickles have distinctive flavor characteristics and offer numerous health advantages.
Our discussion has shown that cucumber is a more versatile choice than pickle, though. Not to mention that each has a distinct flavor and character.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are cucumbers more healthy than pickles?
Yes. Cucumber is way more healthier than pickles.
Does a cucumber turn into a pickle?
Cucumber can be turned into a pickle by submerging it in vinegar or salt
Is eating a whole cucumber a day good?
Yes. Including cucumber in your daily diet can be beneficial in many ways.
Are all pickles made from cucumbers?
No. Pickle can be made from different fruits, vegetables, fish, and even meat.