Friday, August 17, 2007

Burpless or Fartless Cucumbers?

I sit up late at night with a troubled digestive tract, pondering the cucumber I ate at supper time. It was from a neighbour's garden and looked like one of the ordinary american slicer-type cucumbers. Then I wondered about the term used to sell certain cucumbers in seed catalogs: "burpless". What in the world is a burpless cucumber? I hate to be crude here, but I think the concern isn't so much for the upcoming burps but the flatulence that follows. This is not only uncomfortable but downright unsociable!

I googled this brilliant piece of primary research on the burpless cucumber, in which the researchers set out to determine if "burpless" cucumbers actually produced less digestive upset. First of all, they clarify that "burpless" may just be the north american marketing term for oriental trellis cucumbers. Other varieties of cucumbers are the american slicer, american pickle, and middle-eastern slicer.

From the methods section:

"Judges were grouped (three each) into susceptible or resistant to burping based on their previous experience with cucumbers. Fruit were evaulated for burpiness using 6 judges eating a 4 inch (100 mm) length of fruit per cultivar per day."

Did you know you could divide people based on cucumber-burping-susceptibility? Resident-lawn-mower-man seems to be on the cucumber-resistant side. In the end, the researchers determined that the burpless cukes did produce less upset.

For me, this is still an issue of marketing that avoids the whole truth. Would it not be more useful to call these mild-mannered vegetables "Fartless Cucumbers"? So far, a google search for "fartless cucumbers" produces zero results. Well, I guess it won't anymore!


kate said...

I wonder how many people will visit your blog using "fartless cucumber" as search terms.

Sometimes I have the same problem with cucumber - I wonder if it's a combination of foods that might bring on that digestive upset.

Clayton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clayton said...

Took the first one off due to bad spelling!

My question is "If you cut the stem end and rub salt between the two cut faces does this not only help get rid of the bitter but take away some of the "power"?"

the feathered nest said...

My mother always soaked her cucumber slices in salt water (and then rinsed) before making a salad and we never experienced any problems.

Thank you for visiting my bog. Gardening is my passion so I've enjoyed looking through your blog. Your stacked stone borders are just beautiful. I'm thinking of doing something similar in my backyard.

Take care and I'll be sure to come back to see what you're up to!