What you see: Bumps on your cucumber, sometimes of varying size
What it is: Stipples! Just a natural part of the cucumber
Eat or toss: Eat!
Our produce may be bred to be uniform and pleasing to the eye, but there are characters in every crowd. Take, for example, the bumpy slicing cucumber. While its cousins, pickling cucumbers, typically are quite covered in bumps (known as stipples), the idealized slicing cucumber is rounded and smooth. And yet, from time to time the cukes I pick up at the store look like they’re suffering from the cucurbit version of an acne breakout, with clusters of big bumps here and there.
Steve Sargent, a professor and post-harvest extension specialist at the University of Florida, says not to worry. “Nobody should ever be concerned if they see irregular bumps,” he says. “They’re just variations from fruit to fruit.”
He also points out that the bumps are quite pronounced when the cucumbers are immature, but as the fruit (yep, cucumbers are technically a fruit) develops and expands, it rises around the bumps, sort of swallowing them up. But the process can happen in reverse—as an old cucumber loses moisture, its flesh retracts and the bumps become more prominent. (Though, given the wax coating cucumbers are given between farm and shelf, the rate of moisture loss is rather slow.) But shrinkage like that wouldn’t affect the flavor or edibility. Regardless of age, some are just bound to be bumpier than others. (Yep, still talking about cucumbers!)
Steve Sargent - Extension Post-Harvest Specialist - University of Florida
Cucumber - USDA
The Best Cucumbers for Eating or Pickling - GrowOrganic.com
They're just stipple-ish!