Product Intelligence

Cucumber

Similar Names
Cucumis sativus
Top Producer
Maldives
0397 Cucumbers and gherkins
Top Exporter
Spain
070700 Cucumbers and gherkins, fresh or chilled
Top Importer
United States
070700 Cucumbers and gherkins, fresh or chilled
Wholesale Prices
help
$ 0.79 per kg
-1.0%
May, 2019
Jan 7
May 20
Product Intelligence of Cucumber

Definitive Guide to Cucumber

Everything you need to know about the basics, production, export and import of Cucumber.
Product Description
General Information

-Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is a widely cultivated plant.  It is a creeping vine that bears cucumiform fruits that are used as vegetables. Cucumbers have different colors, for example, lemon cucumbers are yellow and round, resembling a lemon more than the common cucumber. Armenian cucumbers have a light green or yellow-green hue also there is  Indian yellow cucumber although the most traded cucumbers are dark green.

-The fruit of typical cultivars of cucumber is roughly cylindrical, but elongated with tapered ends, and may be as large as 60 cm long and 10 cm in diameter. Cucumbers are firmness and crispness, also they are sweet except when they are a tad bitter & also depending on variety, cucumbers may have a mild melon aroma and flavor

-There are three main varieties of cucumber: slicing, pickling, Gherkin and Burpless(seedless). Within these varieties, several cultivars(hybrids) have been created. Most commercial cucumbers are hybrids from slicing & pickling varieties produced all over the world. 

-The cucumber is originally from South Asia  & has been cultivated in India for more than 3000 years & from there it spread to Greece, China, England & to the Americas but now grows on most continents. Many different types of cucumber are traded on the global market.

-Cucumber production globally is in 83,753,861 metric tonnes from 2.2 million hectares. the main producing countries are as follows: China-64,824,643 metric tons, Iran-1,981,130 metric tons, Russia-1,940,010 metric tons,Turkey-1,827,782 metric tons,United States-1,012,378 metric tons,Mexico-956,005 metric tons, Ukraine-896,280 metric tons,Uzbekistan-813,591 metric tons,Spain-634,824 metric tons,Japan-559,500 metric tons, Poland-543,726metric tons.

-There are two methods of harvesting cucumbers: Handpicked & Machine harvesting. 

-Handpicking is done with a knife or a pair of shears whereas machine harvesting is done by CH model cucumber harvester, harvesting up to 60 tons per hour.

-Harvest regular slicing cucumbers when they about 6 to 8 inches long (slicing varieties).

-Harvest dills(seedless) at 4 to 6 inches long and pickles at 2 inches long for pickles.

-The large burpless cucumbers can be up to 10 inches long and some types are even larger.

-Cucumbers are best picked before their seeds become hard and are eaten when immature.  A cucumber is of the highest quality when it is uniformly green, firm, and crisp.

-Any cucumbers left on the vine too long will also get tough skins, turns yellow and lower plant productivity.

-Cucumbers are mostly consumed in the culinary industry due to a lot of health benefits associated with the vegetable such as: 

-High nutrients. Have low calories but rich in vitamins, minerals & high water content.

-Antioxidants. This helps to reduce the risks of chronic illness.

-Promotes hydration because 96% of cucumber content is water.  

-Helps in weight loss. A 300 g cucumber contains only 45 calories & the high water content.

-Promotes body regulator. Since cucumber contains high water content hence promote hydration. Staying hydrated can improve stool consistency, prevent constipation and help maintain regularity. 


General Information

-The scientific name for cucumber is Cucumis sativus Linnaeus( no changes)

General Information

-Category- Section: II. For all vegetable products 

-HS code Chapter: 07     For all vegetables, plants, roots and tubers food

-HS code for departure is 0707. This covers all cucumbers & pickles fresh or frozen. 

-HS code for subheading is 070700 which covers all cucumbers & pickles fresh or frozen.

-HS code for the fraction is 07070001 which also covers all cucumbers & pickles fresh or frozen.

NB: HS code for cucumber is 0707 but during the shipping production section & chapter must be included. 

Also for subheading & fraction, they are used in case the product is categorized in other classification features. 

General Information

-There are 14 types of cucumbers but the commercial ones are Slicing, Pickling, Gherkin & Burpless.

 -Slicing. These type of cucumbers are grown to eat fresh. The main varieties of slicers mature on vines with large leaves that provide shading. They are mainly eaten in the unripe green form since the ripe yellow form normally becomes bitter and sour.

-There are commercial cultivated & consumed common in USA. Their main features are generally longer(20-35 cm), smoother, more uniform in color, and have a much tougher skin while they differ with slicing from other regions by being smaller and have a thinner, more delicate skin, often having fewer seeds.

They are also known as English cucumber or telegraph cucumber in Australasia. 

-Pickling. They are cultivated specifically for commercial pickles because they bred for uniformity of length-to-diameter ratio and lack of voids in the flesh. They are used mainly for Pickling with brine, sugar, vinegar, and spices create various, flavored products from cucumbers and other foods. 

-They are shorter(7-10 cm), thicker(2.5 cm), less regularly shaped, and have bumpy skin with tiny white or black-dotted spines & their Color can vary from creamy yellow to pale or dark green.

-Gherkin. The name comes from 17th dutch language meaning for small pickling cucumber. They are also known as cornichons, baby dills, or baby pickles, are small(2.5-13 cm), whole, unsliced cucumbers.

-They are used predominantly for vinegar in the UK & in other countries like in North America & India, they are packed in jars. 

-Major producing countries are India, Turkey, Ukraine and Mexico mainly for USA, Canada, EU & Israel markets. 

-Burpless. They are sweeter and have a thinner skin than other varieties of cucumber, they can grow as long as 60 cm, are nearly seedless, and have a delicate skin & have a reputation of being easy to digest and having a pleasant taste.

General Information

-As per USDA grading, the categories are as follows:

-US fancy. consists of cucumbers which are well colored, well-formed, not overgrown, and which are fresh, firm, and free from decay, sunscald, and from injury caused by scars and from damage caused by yellowing, sunburn, dirt or other foreign material, freezing, mosaic or other disease, insects, cuts, bruises, mechanical or other means.

-The maximum diameter of each cucumber shall be not more than 2-3/8 inches and the length of each cucumber shall be not less than 6 inches.

-US extra no.1 . consists of a combination of U.S. Fancy and U.S. No. 1 cucumbers: Provided, That at least 50 percent of the cucumbers in the lot shall meet the requirements of the U.S. Fancy grade and the remainder shall meet the requirements of the U.S. No. 1 grade.

-The maximum diameter of each cucumber shall be not more than 2-3/8 inches and the length of each cucumber shall be not less than 6 inches.

-US no.1. consists of cucumbers which are fairly well colored, fairly well formed, not overgrown, and which are fresh, firm, and free from decay, sunscald and from damage caused by scars, yellowing, sunburn, dirt or other foreign materials, freezing, mosaic or other disease, insects, cuts, bruises, mechanical or other means.

-Unless otherwise specified, the maximum diameter of each cucumber shall be not more than 2- 3/8 inches and the length of each cucumber shall be not less than 6 inches.

-US no.1. Small consists of cucumbers which meet all requirements for the U.S. No. 1 grade except for size.

-The diameter of each cucumber shall be not less than 1-1/2 inches or more than 2 inches. There are no requirements for length.

-US no.1. Large consists of cucumbers which meet all requirements for the U.S. No. 1 grade except for size.

-The minimum diameter of each cucumber shall be not less than 2-1/4 inches and, unless otherwise specified, the length of each cucumber shall be not less than 6 inches. There are no maximum diameter and length requirements.

-US no.2. Unless otherwise specified, the maximum diameter of each cucumber shall be not more than 2-3/8 inches and the length of each cucumber shall be not less than 5 inches.

-Canada has a different grading system which classifies as follows:

-The grades for greenhouse and field cucumbers are Canada No. 1 and Canada No. 2. -Greenhouse cucumbers when packed and sold, one dozen per package can have the following additional grade designations: Canada No. 1 Small, Canada No. 1 Medium, Canada No. 1 Large and Canada No. 1 Extra Large.


General Information

-Below are various ways used for processing fresh cucumber :

-Harvesting. cucumber harvest is done manually and with scissors carefully cutting the stem, approximately the harvest is done 40 - 55 days after sowing before the seeds harden & harvest is done when the cucumber is not yet fully ripe but already very close to its end point.

-Transporting to packinghouse. This is done by a small & large truck while the fresh cucumbers are in the basket or the boxes.

-Washing. Once the cucumber is in the packing area, it is washed - in many packages it is washed with cold water - and then disinfected, which is done with chlorine or peracetic acid solutions.

-Waxing. Then the fresh cucumber goes through the area of application of coverage or waxing, which is the conservation method. Waxing is done by different varieties such as beeswaxes, organic oils, wood resins, sucrose esters, waxes based on whey proteins, polysaccharides.

-Selection. then fresh cucumber is classified and the good product is separated, the bad and the best quality depending on a few factors such as The size, The color, Skin firm and well hydrated, Cool, No stretch marks, Without points or yellow parts, No injuries, no blows.

-Packaging. packages cover a variety of cucumbers with a transparent rubber in order to protect them and later it is packed into the in baskets, cardboard, wooden boxes but usually, corrugated cardboard boxes are used.

-Transportation.  The container should be selected taking care that the fresh cucumber has the least movement inside the container.

-The cucumber at the moment of being transported to the market or exported to external markets must travel in boxes or containers with temperatures of 10 ° C.

-The fresh cucumber needs to be stored in the cooling system, in fact, it can not be marketed without a pre-cooled, which means to subject it to 8 ° C for a lapse of 3 hours. The cucumber can be stored for a period of 15 to 20 days after harvest and the most benevolent storage temperature is between 10 ° C to 12 ° C. If the cucumber is stored for 2 weeks at a temperature of 5 ° C it can present irreversible damage



-Below are various ways used for processing cucumber(frozen):

-Cucumber Pickling process. This is a fermentation process whereby cucumbers are transferred to large, air tight, fiber-glass or stainless steel tanks. Some of these containers can hold over 40,000 lb (18,160 kg) of cucumbers. The tanks are filled with a brine solution, which is made up of water and 10% salt.

-The manufacturer can take advantage of a naturally-occurring bacteria that is present on the cucumbers or innoculate with a specifically desired bacteria. In either case, the bacteria are halophyllic, or salt tolerant.

-During a storage period of about five weeks, the fermentation bacteria breakdown the sugars present in the vegetable and produce carbon dioxide. To prevent adverse effects from the carbon dioxide, the tanks are periodically degassed. Pickles made in this way have a shelf life of many months.

-After the pickles have adequately fermented, the salt solution is drained. The pickles are then immersed in water to remove all of the salt they have acquired during the cure. From this point, the pickles are moved along to the conveyor to the slicing machine which cuts the pickles to the correct size depending on the type of product desired. They can be cut into slices, chips, or can even be diced. Attempts are made to maintain as clean an environment as possible for the pickles to avoid any contamination by microbes could result in an undesirable product.

-The other method is direct pasteurization. In this method, the cucumbers are bottled and then exposed to very high temperatures for a set amount of time. this creates the effect of killing all of the natural bacteria that may is present. These sterilized cucumbers can then be further processed into pickles. This method of production results in pickles that have a shelf life of only a few months.

-The last method is refrigeration and acidification. The pickles depend on the cold temperature and vinegar solution to prevent spoilage. While they are much faster to manufacture, they have a much shorter shelf life.

-After being cut, the pickles are typically placed in glass jars although cans, plastic bottles, and pouches have also been used. The packing machines are designed to deliver the correct amount of vegetable to each jar.

-The jars are moved along to the liquid filling machine, which fills them with the liquor. The pickle liquor consists of vinegar, salt, and other materials mentioned previously. This liquor is premixed in a large container prior to filling. To ensure an adequate distribution of spices, these are sometimes filled into the jars before the liquor. From the filling machine, the jars are capped and moved along for pasteurization.

-Fresh-market cucumbers and European types they are hand harvested and placed in plastic bins to be transported by trucks to the packing-house. Once the cucumbers have reached the packing house they are washed in Fresh Pack Cucumber Line machine which then sorts them out before delivering cucumber at personnel lining up for grading them manually as they move over for packaging.

-Since the fresh market cucumbers are prone to extreme dryness, they are waxed prior to being packed again to help with reducing water loss and skin injury. As for greenhouse cucumbers, most are shrink-wrapped with polyethylene films.

General Information

-The key factors that determine the quality of cucumber are:

 The uniformity of shape- If the shape for different cucumbers is irregular this could be interpreted as a defected caused disease or bacteria. 

 Firmness- The more firm a cucumber is the higher the quality otherwise if it's loose could be a sign of internal damage most likely physical damage.

 Dark green color of the skin-Usually used to interpret the maturity of cucumber without any defect.

Size-If the cucumber is of the same type then they size during or after harvesting should be similar i.e pickles should be at least 25 cm long & not 10 cm. 

Lacking yellowish color- yellowish color is an indication of rotting for prickles but for slicer is a sign of maturity. 


General Information

-Market price. especially when the product prices are low.

-Price of inputs/costs of production such as when wages & cost of seeds increases.

-Technological factors. Lack of proper tools to maximum harvest yields. 

-Climate factors. Lack of rainfall to cultivate or flooding that damages crops.

-Storage possibilities. Depending on availability, the cost involved & effectiveness.

-Tastes and preferences of the consumers. different markets like & consumer different types of cucumbers.

-Trading currency. USD is the most used trading currency international & a strong dollar affects consumers negatively.

-Political environment. civil unrest in cucumber producing Country will cut off the supply chain. 

-Energy/gasoline prices. expensive energy will lead to an increase in the overall price of cucumber. 

-Trade policies. Countries with trade treaties tend to benefit more than those without through easier access to main markets at lower costs.  



Production
Intelligence on global production published on Tridge are based on the statistical data provided by UN FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization. We follow the FAO Code scheme of our data source and assign each page with its most closely associated FAO Codes.
This page is associated with the following HS Codes:
- 0397 Cucumbers and gherkins
FAO Code 0397 Cucumbers and gherkins
Export
Intelligence on global imports and imports published on Tridge are based on the statistical data provided by UN Comtrade: International Trade Statistics Database. We follow the HS Code scheme of our data source and assign each page with its most closely associated HS Codes.
This page is associated with the following HS Codes:
HS Code 070700 Vegetables; cucumbers and gherkins, fresh or chilled
Import
Intelligence on global imports and imports published on Tridge are based on the statistical data provided by UN Comtrade: International Trade Statistics Database. We follow the HS Code scheme of our data source and assign each page with its most closely associated HS Codes.
This page is associated with the following HS Codes:
HS Code 070700 Vegetables; cucumbers and gherkins, fresh or chilled

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