The Q&A Archives: Difference Between Pickle Plants And Slicer Plants

Question: Can you please tell me the difference between the plant characteristics of a cuke plant and a pickling cuke plant?
I forgot which plant was which. Can you tell the difference by leaves (ie. size, color,etc.). Are the flowers different? Are the fruit different?

I want to start picking soon and I don't want to pick the pickles too late or the cukes to soon. I'm trying to can this year and I don't want to screw up by canning the wrong types of fruit.

Answer: Well, this is a tough one. The leaves look the same, the flowers look the same. I think the only way you are going to be able to tell is by watching them. If you planted small pickling varieties keep an eye on all the cukes, the small varieties will stay on the small side and not grow long like the slicers. Small picklers usually get to be about 4-5" long, slicers between 8-14" long.

Here are some general differences--though these may not be true for all varieties: Picklers tend to have thinner, more tender skin, and often produce their crop within a week or two. Slicers have thicker skins and may continue to set fruit for 4 to 6 weeks.

And, really, it doesn't can pickle a slicer (harvested when small), and slice a pickler.

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