Kirby Cucumbers


Kirby Cucumbers is now a generic term for any small cucumber sold for pickling.

There actually were actual Kirby Cucumbers, developed by a Norval E. Kirby and first released in 1920. They had names such as Black Diamond, D. and B. Special, Dark Green, Dark Green Slicer, Earliest Black Diamond, Green Pack, Kirbys Stays Green, Stay Green and Sunny South. But these have not been grown commercially since the 1930s, at which time the Kirby breeds were overtaken in popularity by the National Pickling Cucumber.

Kirby Cucumbers, as the term is used now, describes small cucumbers 3 to 6 inches (7 1/2 to 15 cm) long, with a somewhat irregular shape. The skin colour ranges from pale green to creamy yellow to dark green. The skin is bumpy, and may have ridges on with black or white dots.

Kirby Cucumbers are sold fresh with skins unwaxed, because waxing would interfere with pickling. They are very crisp, because their seed cavity is so small and undeveloped, which also means they have fewer seeds than other cucumbers.

The cucumbers don't have to be used for pickling. They can also be served fresh sliced in cucumber salads or on relish trays.

Kirby Cucumbers are sometimes mistakenly said to be the same as West Indian Gherkins.

Cooking Tips

To serve fresh, trim about 1/2 to 1 inch (1 to 2 1/2 cm) off each end, depending on how long they are (the ends are often somewhat bitter.)

Equivalents

10 Kirby Cucumbers = 2 pounds / 900g

Storage Hints

Store fresh ones in the refrigerator unwashed for up to 7 days.