The Armenian Cucumber is actually a type of melon (Cucumis melo var flexuosus), which is long and slender, in which - like the cucumber - the fruits are harvested while still unripe. It is also called the yard-long cucumber, snake cucumber, snake melon, and uri. It should not be confused with snake gourds (Trichosanthes spp.). The skin is burpless, has no bitterness, is very thin and the fruit is almost always used without peeling. If you let it get very long and ripen, the seeds will become tough. Usually harvested at 6-12 inches long.
They grow 'em big in Armenia
By Holly Fesperman
The Salisbury Post (Salisbury, North Carolina)
Thursday, August 4, 2005
When Larry Frick saw the first small cucumbers on his vines, he revisited the seed package. Frick thought for sure he'd gotten English Cucumber seeds, but these cucumbers didn't look at all like ones he'd grown in the past.
He was surprised to find that his seed package actually read, "Armenian Yard Long Cucumbers."
The back of the package described the cukes - "long, curved, grey-green fruits are 2-3 feet long with a diameter of 3 inches."
Frick said he didn't pay any attention to that when he bought them at Wal-Mart, he just picked up the seed pack that looked like what he wanted.
As a matter of fact, the Armenian cukes did look much greener and less strange in the seed package picture.
Frick must have done something right because his cucumbers nearly lived up to their name. His longest cuke came in at 28 1/2 inches.
Even though he didn't grow English cucumbers he hasn't been disappointed. The Armenian variety are great on salads, and they aren't quite as strong tasting as regular cucumbers, Frick said.
One cucumber lasts him a while, he just cuts off what he needs and covers the rest with plastic wrap. Frick stores the uneaten portion in the refrigerator until his next salad or tasty cucumber sandwich.
Maybe Frick's cucumbers aren't so strange after all, he saw what looked like Armenian cukes in the Food Lion sale paper last week.
He's definitely seen some strange vegetables through the years. When Frick was in his twenties, a service station in Rockwell sponsored a vegetable competition similar to the Post's Garden Game.
People in the community would bring in their vegetables and at the end of several weeks the person with the biggest veggie would win five or ten gallons of gas.
That was back when gas was 20 or 30 cents a gallon, said Frick.
During one service station competition, Frick remembers someone bringing in a five and a half pound tomato.
Frick said he may have won that competition years ago if he'd had the Armenian cukes.
He's planning to give the biggest one away to lady at his church that loves to grow produce as well.
PHOTO CAPTION: A strange kind of longhorn steer: Larry Frick demonstrates an alternative use for the large cucumbers he grew. Photo by Jon C. Lakey, Salisbury Post.
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