Do you crave the satisfying crunch and intense flavors that only a juicy pickle can offer? As one of the best-producing options on the market, the Calypso cucumber is a popular choice among commercial and home growers alike.
Keep reading to learn everything you might need to know about this delicious, fast-growing variety!
History of the Calypso Cucumber
Cucumbers are believed to have originated in India over 3,000 years ago. The Calypso variety, more specifically, is an F1 hybrid that was developed at North Carolina State University.
During trials, the cucumber proved more productive than many other pickling varieties—yielding a large, early crop. What’s more, it was found to be resistant to various mildews, anthracnose, angular leaf spot, and cucumber mosaic virus.
While Calypso was initially developed for commercial growers, it is now prevalent throughout home gardens across the United States.
Characteristics of Calypso Cucumbers
Because Calypso is a pickling cucumber, it is shorter and broader than the average slicing variety. At full maturity, it measures roughly three to six inches long and one inch in diameter.
In terms of color, Calypso has a darker shade of green than that of most pickling cucumbers. This, combined with its white spine, makes it easily distinguishable from other varieties.
Calypso’s taste is fairly neutral overall, but it does have a mild, sweet flavor compared to other varieties. Like many pickling cucumbers, it has a thin, tender, and bumpy outer layer of skin. Its flesh is firm, crisp, and even crunchy.
About the Calypso Cucumber
As pickling cucumbers are exceptionally versatile, Calypso can be consumed in a handful of ways.
Of course, you can create your own brine and enjoy the tangy, juicy crunch of pickled cucumber. Although Calypso cucumbers aren’t conventional slicing cucumbers, you can also enjoy them fresh or add them to a salad.
Calypso cucumbers are a nutritious addition to all types of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack recipes.
Chop them up and add them to an omelet, or combine them with other flavors for a healthy smoothie. You can even spiral them and use them as a gluten-free substitute for traditional pasta shells.
Like many fruits, cucumbers offer all kinds of health benefits. Essential vitamins and minerals include vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, and potassium. Their antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory agents may help reduce the risk of cancer and bone disease.
Cucumbers are also high in water, fiber, and protein, and yet have a low-calorie count. This allows them to hydrate the body and satisfy hunger while promoting weight loss and gut health.
Of course, many of the fruit’s nutrients come from its peel, so it’s recommended that you eat both peel and flesh.
Growing the Calypso
Calypso, like most cucumbers, is a warm-weather fruit. It is best grown in USDA zones 3–12 and when sown after the last frost—typically around mid-April. Any sowing prior to the last frost should be done indoors, and the plants transplanted outdoors during the spring.
To start, sow two to three seeds roughly four feet apart in fertile, neutral soil. Use compost and organic fertilizer to promote growth. The soil’s temperature should be approximately 60–90 degrees and maintained at 70–80 degrees.
Because Calypso is a vining plant, providing a structure for it to climb will yield more cucumbers and fewer leaves. Not to mention, it will conserve real estate in your garden.
Germination takes approximately 4–12 days. Water one inch per week and provide full-to-partial sunlight. Calypso will reach maturity in approximately 50–60 days.
While cucumbers are best grown when directly seeded, they may be transplanted with a great deal of care.
Three to four weeks after sowing indoors, plant seedlings roughly four feet apart in warm, fertile soil. Be sure to fertilize and water the soil heavily to avoid deformed fruit.
Once your cucumbers have reached maturity—typically during the late summer months—you can begin to pick them. The key to harvesting Calypso cucumbers is to pick them early and often, as this will only encourage further growth.
Calypso boasts an exceptionally high yield, largely because it only produces female flowers.
How Do You Pickle Calypso Cucumbers?
Calypso is the perfect cucumber for pickling, and it’s relatively easy to pickle your cucumbers at home.
The first step is to prepare your pickling brine. You will need a one-to-one ratio of vinegar and water, as well as salt and sugar. Add your favorite herbs and spices as you see fit. Popular flavors include peppercorn, dill, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
Next, combine all of the ingredients, bring them to a boil, and stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Finally, allow the brine to cool before jarring the pickles and brine. Store them in the refrigerator and allow at least 24 hours for the flavors to develop.
The best part? You can store your Calypso pickles in the refrigerator for up to two months. The longer you leave Calypso cucumbers in the brine, the stronger the flavor will be!
Where to Buy Calypso Cucumbers
As there are nearly 100 different cucumber varieties, Calypso may or may not be on rotation at your local grocery. As they are popular among home growers, however, you may be able to spot them at your local farmers’ market.
If you’re looking to grow your own Calypso cucumbers, there are several places where you can buy seeds online. We recommend the Calypso seeds sold online by one of our favorite seed retailers, True Leaf Market. They offer both organic and non-organic seeds for this cucumber.
Wrapping Up Calypso Cucumbers
Are you looking forward to buying, growing, and eating your own Calypso cucumbers this season? Be sure to stock up on plenty of seeds and get your garden space ready for this tasty pickling variety.
Ready to continue discovering these funky fresh vegetables? Then learn more about cucumbers by checking out my planting guides, recipe tips, brand suggestions, and more!