Cucumbers are good for snacking, but not if they become bitter or mess with your digestive system. With the muncher cucumber, you won’t deal with any of that.
This cucumber will stay tasty and settle well in your stomach! And this easy-to-grow crop allows you to decide when to harvest it depending on your culinary preferences.
Continue reading to learn about these munchy cukes!
Muncher Cucumber Characteristics
The muncher is an heirloom, warm-season cucumber that grows on strong vines produces heavy yields, and doesn’t require pollination. The plant reaches up to four feet tall with large leaves.
This cucumber’s full length is six to nine (up to 10) inches, with a width of two to three inches. Its soft-to-medium green skin is smooth, thin, and tender.
And though the muncher is seedless, sometimes you’ll still find seeds in them. However, they’re smaller and thinner than other cucumber seeds, so they’re easily digested.
The Muncher’s Brief History
This cucumber is Middle Eastern in origin. That means it has smooth and spineless skin, unlike thick-skinned or spiny cucumbers from other parts of the world.
The muncher cucumber was developed as a parthenocarpic cultivar, which produces seedless fruit. Because seeds and cucumbers trigger digestive issues, the muncher is for anyone who’s had an upset stomach after eating seeded cukes.
Also, its name, muncher, comes from the fact that you can eat it raw—straight out of the garden!
Eating the Munchers
The best thing about the muncher is that it’s a burpless cucumber, meaning it has a low level of cucurbitacin. This compound causes a slightly bitter taste that many people associate with cucumbers. The muncher cucumber will taste mild and sweet for eating!
Fresh Off the Vine
Once you harvest a muncher cucumber, wash it, slice it (or leave it whole), and enjoy it! This crisp and crunchy cucumber is a great snack by itself and as an ingredient in salads, soups, and sandwiches.
Try these other culinary ideas!
When it’s hot, try freezing a muncher cucumber before eating it. Cut it into slices and freeze them in a couple of easy ways:
- Add them to water in an ice cube tray and freeze them into cubes to cool and add flavor to drinks.
- Place them on a cookie sheet and freeze for eating later.
You can also freeze a whole muncher, but it’s not the preferred freezing method. It could become mushy once you thaw it out. But if you have to freeze it whole, it makes a tasty ingredient to blend into a refreshing smoothie!
Muncher cucumbers reach peak maturity for pickling at four to six inches long—any larger and the flavor will suffer. But you don’t have to wait that long because you can harvest them for pickling well before they’re fully grown.
Here are a couple of pickling recipes to get you started!
Health Benefits of Cucumbers
Since cucumbers have a 95% water content, they’re a great source of hydration. And with their fiber content and low-calorie count, you can satisfy your munchies without the worry of gaining weight!
You’ll take in 4% of vitamins A, C, and K and essential minerals with the muncher cucumber. Its peel is also a good source of health as it has a high concentration of beta carotene.
Though we mentioned that munchers are burpless and won’t cause indigestion, it’s still best to eat them in moderation.
Growing Your Own
Sowing and Spacing
You can plant cucumber seeds when the soil temperature reaches 65 degrees, and the threat of frost has passed. Cucumbers grow best in fertile, well-draining soil with a pH balance between six and seven.
Sow seeds a half-inch to an inch deep in a location where they’ll receive full sunlight. Space them about three to four feet apart from each other on eight-inch soil mounds.
To get a jump on the growing season, plant the seeds indoors four to six weeks before the last frost date. Because cucumber root systems don’t respond well to being disturbed, use biodegradable pots. Once true leaves appear, your cucumber seedlings are ready for transplanting outside.
For more information, read our guide on how to grow cucumbers.
Watering and Feeding
Give your muncher cucumbers one inch of water per week to keep the soil moist.
If you find the cucumber plant needs more nutrients, consider feeding it an organic granular fertilizer. Once it starts growing, switch to a liquid fertilizer.
Cucumber vines may remain on the ground, but they’ll do better with a trellis to support them as they grow. It reduces the risk of fungal disease by providing air circulation and allows you to grow cucumbers in small-space gardens.
Though you may harvest them before they’re fully grown, muncher cucumbers reach full maturity after 55 to 60 days.
To harvest, cut (don’t twist) the stems a fourth of an inch above the cucumbers. Because the muncher is tender, handle each one with care as you harvest. Pitch any cucumbers that are stunted or have rotten ends.
Diseases and Pests
Though the muncher cucumber is immune to cucumber mosaic disease, there are a few diseases and pests to consider. Here are a couple of examples of each that harm muncher cucumbers:
- Angular leaf spot
Disease prevention measures include using a trellis or crop rotation gardening methods, removing infected plants, and mulching around the stems. Above all, clear your soil of weeds or crop debris.
- Cucumber beetles
To control these sap- and root-feeders, introduce predators like ladybugs or place row covers over the plants. Other treatments include weeding and spraying approved insecticides underneath the leaves.
Buying the Seeds
Would you like to grow your own munchers? We highly recommend muncher cucumber seeds sold online by one of our favorite seed retailers, True Leaf Market. You can get seeds in quantities as few as three grams all the way up to 25 pounds!
If you’re not ready (or able) to commit to growing cukes, that’s all right! You may be able to find munchers at farmers’ markets or even in the produce section at Walmart.
Munch on Muncher Cucumbers!
The muncher cucumber is a fast-growing crop you’ll enjoy growing and eating—before or when it reaches maturity. Your tastebuds will love the sweet flavor, and your digestive system will thank you for eating this burpless cuke!
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!