What do you need to know about the summer dance cucumber? Unfortunately, there’s no dancing involved.
But, with its mild, lightly sweet flavor, this hybrid Japanese-type cucumber adds a refreshing twist to any side dish or dip.
There are over 100 types of cucumber to choose from when you’re planting. But the summer dance has some unique traits worth considering.
Keep reading to discover why the summer dance cucumber will be the perfect addition to your garden this year!
Characteristics of the Summer Dance Cucumber
The summer dance cucumber is a hybrid Japanese-type cucumber. It has more in common with an English cucumber (the long, skinny ones wrapped in plastic) than your traditional slicing variety.
Summer dance cucumbers have smooth, deep green skin that requires no peeling before eating.
Like a Japanese cucumber, the summer dance has delicate skin and grows into long, thin 9″-12″ cylinders.
There may be a few tiny seeds within the pale green center, but these cucumbers are generally seedless.
The sweeter taste of summer dance cucumbers makes them a perfect choice for snacking, dipping, incorporating into recipes for a refreshing twist, or consuming as a raw side dish.
This cucumber varietal provides a high yield of generally uniform fruit.
The Summer Dance cucumber also boasts a high disease resistance to powdery and downy mildew and a moderate resistance to certain types of blight.
Picking the Right Cucumber
There are many different cucumber types, but they generally break down into three large groups: slicing, pickling, and seedless (or burpless).
Slicing varieties have smooth skin and are best eaten fresh in dishes like salads—most grocery stores stock this type of cucumber.
Pickling cucumbers tend to be bumpier with thicker skin that stands up to the pickling process without dissolving.
These cucumbers tend toward thinner skin and have very few or no seeds. They usually come wrapped in plastic from your local store.
Did you know that a single cucumber can provide approximately 50% of your daily Vitamin K requirements? Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and healthy bones.
Cucumbers also consist of about 95% water, making them an excellent option for low-calorie or hydrating food sources.
These cool fruits even have benefits for your skin. They can ease sunburn pain and some minor swelling.
Remember to wash the fruit first so you avoid germs and irritants that could aggravate sensitive skin.
Cooking with Summer Dance Cucumbers
Now that you’ve determined a sweet, burpless cucumber (aka the summer dance) perfectly meets your needs, let’s get cooking!
Cucumber and Avocado Salad
Cool down on a hot day with this Cool Cucumber and Avocado Salad. Substituting a summer dance cucumber provides a refreshing sweetness to offset the heat of hot pepper sauce and curry powder.
A typical ingredient in many summer or spring roll recipes, the mild cucumber can balance the stronger chile and peanut flavors in these Lemongrass and Chicken Summer Rolls.
Family Friendly Cucumber Nut Bread
A twist on the popular zucchini bread, this Cucumber Nut Bread provides the perfect cover to get even the pickiest eaters their daily fruits and vegetables.
Using a summer dance or English-type cucumber instead of a traditional slicing cucumber eliminates the need for peeling.
This recipe can be endlessly adapted for your purposes. Consider adding some chocolate chips to make it a dessert or some berries and seeds for a hearty breakfast.
Where to Buy Seeds?
As it is an uncommon varietal, finding whole summer dance cucumbers for purchase can be challenging. But, you can easily find seeds to grow this delicious plant at home!
We highly recommend the summer dance cucumber seeds sold online by one of our favorite seed retailers, True Leaf Market.
Buying a Whole Summer Dance Cucumber
The cucumbers you grab at your local store likely fall into the slicing category.
While finding a summer dance cucumber at the store may prove challenging, you can always grab an English (also known as European or hothouse) cucumber for similar taste, texture, and water content.
Planting, Growing, and Maintaining
Similar to other types of cucumber, the summer dance grows best in an outdoor environment such as a home garden.
Plant these seeds after the last frost in your region. For most U.S. hardiness zones, that will be in late spring or early summer.
When direct sowing, consider using a seed cover to speed germination.
You could also start these seeds indoors three to four weeks ahead of time and transplant them into the garden after the threat of frost has passed.
Whether direct sowing or transplanting, remember to thin seedlings to the strongest one or two plants as the leaves begin to emerge.
As with most cucumbers, the summer dance variety grows well in warm, summer-like climates with bright light and good air circulation.
Cucumbers can grow in zones 4-12, which is most of the contiguous United States.
While the summer dance can grow laterally on the ground, growers tend to find the best yields and cucumber uniformity when using a trellis to grow them vertically.
Cucumbers require consistent watering and moist, slightly acidic soil.
Keeping the soil well-drained helps to avoid mildew, root rot, and other problems caused by a lack of air circulation.
Harvesting and Storing
Would it surprise you to know that cucumbers are harvested when the plant is still immature? That’s the best time to pick them for peak flavor and texture.
Harvest your summer dance cucumbers when they’re dark green and the seeds have barely formed.
Otherwise, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise! If you leave them on the vine too long, cucumbers develop a bitter, bland taste and begin turning yellow.
You can store harvested whole cucumbers on the counter or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. If you refrigerate them, make sure to wrap them carefully in a paper towel and plastic wrap to lock out moisture.
For longer-term storage, consider pickling your cucumbers.
Try Summer Dance Cucumbers!
When searching for refreshing food options this summer, give the summer dance cucumber a try!
The mild, sweet taste and lack of need for peeling make this cucumber varietal an easy choice to include in any recipe.
While difficult to find already grown in stores, the summer dance cucumber can be easily grown in most home gardens in the United States (and other areas with similar climates).
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!