Why Are English Cucumbers Wrapped In Plastic?

The answer is the reason you don't have soggy English cucumbers.

<p>Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox</p>

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

If you've ever browsed the produce section, you have likely noticed a selection of different cucumbers nestled together in varying shades of green. Most everyone can recognize a standard American cucumber, or even mini cucumbers, typically sold in a bag. But there is one cucumber that is packaged differently from the rest and that is the English cucumber.

A standout fruit (yes, cucumbers are a fruit) amongst its peers and easily recognizable for the way it is packaged, an English cucumber always comes wrapped in plastic. But why? English cucumbers are wrapped fully in shrink wrap to help protect the fruit.

<p>Credit Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox</p>

Credit Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Why Are English Cucumbers Wrapped In Plastic?

English cucumbers, sometimes called hothouse cucumbers or European cucumbers, have a long, narrow shape and a thin, edible skin. Because their tender skin makes them prone to bruising easily, they are wrapped in plastic to protect the fruit in transit to grocers.

English cucumbers share a similar taste to American cucumbers, but are slightly sweeter and have fewer seeds with an edible skin. Like other cucumber varietals, English cucumbers are packed with fiber and vitamins.

Because the skin of English cucumbers is so fragile, you don't need to peel English cucumbers before enjoying them.

When To Remove The Plastic

Once you get your groceries home, should you take off the plastic from your newly purchased English cucumbers, much like you would remove produce from a plastic bag? The short answer is probably not.

If you're planning to eat your English cucumbers right away, it's safe to take the plastic off while you unpack your groceries.

But otherwise, because cucumbers can dehydrate quickly and become limp, it's best to keep them wrapped in the plastic until you plan to consume them. The plastic acts as a protective barrier to the thin skin, extending the life of your English cucumbers by up to a week.

By that logic, should you be wrapping all your vegetables in plastic wrap? No. Most produce has a thick skin or natural wax that helps protect the fruit or vegetable naturally.

Related: How To Store Cucumbers So They Stay Crisp As Long As Possible

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