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Gherkin vs. Cucumber: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Gherkin is a small, pickled cucumber variety. Cucumber is a long, green vegetable, eaten fresh or pickled.
Gherkin vs. Cucumber

Key Differences

Gherkins are a specific type of small cucumber, typically used for pickling. They are characterized by their small size, bumpy skin, and distinct taste which becomes more pronounced when pickled. Cucumbers, in general, are a widely consumed vegetable, known for their long, slender shape, and mild, refreshing taste. They are often eaten fresh in salads, sandwiches, and as snacks.
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Dec 05, 2023
While gherkins are usually pickled in vinegar, herbs, and brine, giving them a tangy and slightly sweet flavor, cucumbers are commonly used fresh. Their crisp texture and high water content make them a popular choice for fresh consumption. Gherkins, due to their pickling, are often more flavorful and have a longer shelf life compared to fresh cucumbers.
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The size is a significant distinguishing factor: gherkins are smaller and usually not more than a few inches long, whereas cucumbers can grow much longer. The small size of gherkins makes them ideal for pickling whole, while cucumbers are often sliced or cut into pieces for various culinary uses.
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Dec 05, 2023
In terms of cultivation, gherkins and cucumbers come from the same botanical family but are different cultivars. Gherkins are specifically grown to be pickled, and they are harvested earlier than cucumbers, which allows them to retain a firmer texture post-pickling. Cucumbers, on the other hand, are grown primarily for fresh consumption and are harvested when they reach the desired size for market.
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Comparison Chart

Size

Small, a few inches long
Longer, can be up to a foot or more
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Use

Primarily pickled
Eaten fresh or pickled
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Flavor

Tangy, slightly sweet when pickled
Mild, refreshing when fresh
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Texture

Crisp, firm texture
Crisp, juicy texture
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Cultivation

Grown for pickling, harvested earlier
Grown for fresh consumption, harvested later
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Gherkin and Cucumber Definitions

Gherkin

A small variety of cucumber used for pickling.
She added gherkins to the sandwich for a tangy taste.
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Dec 05, 2023
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Cucumber

Used in skin care for its soothing properties.
She placed cucumber slices over her eyes for relaxation.
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Gherkin

A pickled snack known for its tanginess.
He enjoyed eating gherkins straight from the jar.
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Dec 05, 2023

Cucumber

Commonly used in salads for its mild taste.
He tossed cucumber into the Greek salad.
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Gherkin

Used in cooking for added flavor.
Gherkins were diced into the salad for a zesty flavor.
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Cucumber

A vine plant grown in gardens.
Their garden was filled with sprawling cucumber vines.
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Gherkin

A small, often bumpy-skinned cucumber.
Gherkins are perfect for pickling due to their size.
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Dec 05, 2023

Cucumber

A long, green, fresh-eating vegetable.
Cucumbers add a refreshing crunch to salads.
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Gherkin

A small cucumber, especially one used for pickling.
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Cucumber

Known for high water content.
She ate cucumber slices to stay hydrated during summer.
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Gherkin

A pickle made from such a fruit.
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Cucumber

A tendril-bearing, climbing or sprawling annual plant (Cucumis sativus) widely cultivated for its edible cylindrical fruit that has a green rind and crisp white flesh.
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Gherkin

A vine (Cucumis anguria) native to Africa and widely cultivated especially in the West Indies, having prickly fruit often harvested when immature for pickling.
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Cucumber

The fruit of this plant, harvested when immature and eaten fresh or pickled.
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Gherkin

The fruit of this plant.
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Cucumber

Any of several related or similar plants, such as the bur cucumber or the squirting cucumber.
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Gherkin

A small cucumber, often pickled whole.
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Cucumber

A vine in the gourd family, Cucumis sativus.
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Gherkin

(slang) The penis.
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Cucumber

The edible fruit of this plant, having a green rind and crisp white flesh.
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Oct 19, 2023

Gherkin

A kind of small, prickly cucumber, much used for pickles.
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Cucumber

A person who is calm and self-possessed.
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Gherkin

See Sea gherkin.
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Cucumber

A creeping plant, and its fruit, of several species of the genus Cucumis, esp. Cucumis sativus, the unripe fruit of which is eaten either fresh or picked. Also, similar plants or fruits of several other genera. See below.
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Oct 19, 2023

Gherkin

Any of various small cucumbers pickled whole
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Oct 19, 2023

Cucumber

A melon vine of the genus Cucumis; cultivated from earliest times for its cylindrical green fruit
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Gherkin

Small prickly cucumber
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Cucumber

Cylindrical green fruit with thin green rind and white flesh eaten as a vegetable; related to melons
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Gherkin

A cucumber preserved in vinegar and spices.
The jar of gherkins was a staple in the pantry.
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Dec 05, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is a cucumber?

A cucumber is a long, green vegetable, known for its crisp texture and mild flavor.
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Are gherkins and cucumbers the same?

Gherkins are a type of cucumber, specifically used for pickling.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can you pickle cucumbers like gherkins?

Yes, cucumbers can be pickled just like gherkins to make pickles.
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Dec 05, 2023

What is a gherkin?

A gherkin is a small, pickled cucumber variety, often tangy and slightly sweet.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can you eat gherkins raw?

Yes, you can eat raw gherkins, but they are often pickled for added flavor.
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Dec 05, 2023

Are gherkins a specific cucumber variety?

Gherkins are typically made from a specific variety of cucumber that is smaller and firmer.
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Are there different types of cucumbers?

Yes, there are various cucumber varieties, including slicing cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, and seedless cucumbers.
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What are some culinary uses for cucumbers?

Cucumbers are used in salads, sandwiches, as a base for tzatziki sauce, and as a refreshing addition to drinks.
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Can you eat gherkins fresh?

Gherkins are typically eaten pickled rather than fresh.
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Are gherkins and dill pickles the same thing?

No, gherkins are a type of cucumber pickle, while dill pickles are cucumbers pickled with dill and garlic.
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Dec 05, 2023

What is the difference between seedless cucumbers and regular cucumbers?

Seedless cucumbers have smaller, softer seeds and are often preferred for their milder flavor and fewer seeds.
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What are gherkins used for in culinary dishes?

Gherkins are commonly used as a condiment, garnish, or in sandwiches and salads.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Are cucumbers and gherkins the same?

No, cucumbers and gherkins are related but different varieties. Cucumbers are larger and often eaten fresh.
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Can you eat the skin of a cucumber?

Yes, you can eat the skin of cucumbers. It is edible and contains additional nutrients and fiber.
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Why are gherkins often served with sandwiches?

Gherkins' crisp texture and tangy flavor make them a popular choice as a sandwich garnish to add crunch and taste.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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