Armenian cucumbers, botanically classified as Cucumis melo var. flexuosus, are actually a melon and not a cucumber. Also known as Yard-long melon, Snake melon, Snake cucumber, Uri, Gutah, and Painted Serpent, Armenian cucumbers are defined within culinary terms by its appearance rather than its botanical classification. There are several different cultivars of the Armenian cucumber, which will determine its coloring and size at maturity.
Armenian cucumbers are a good source of vitamins C, A, and K, and potassium.
Armenian cucumbers can be used in both raw and cooked applications. There is no need to peel the Armenian cucumber as its thin skin makes it an ideal fresh slicing cucumber. Armenian cucumbers are popularly used raw in green leaf, chopped salads, and pasta salads. Their delicate flavor allows them to become a perfect textural component in sandwiches and sushi. They can be sliced lengthwise, widthwise, diced, and julienned. The Armenian cucumber can also be grilled, puréed, or pickled. Complimentary ingredients include red and white fish, shellfish, chilies, tomatoes, mint, oregano, yogurt, garlic, cumin, chicken, pork, and fresh cheeses such as feta and chevre. Armenian cucumbers will keep up to a week when stored in the refrigerator. Once cut, it should be wrapped in plastic and placed in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life.
Jajik is a traditional Armenian dish that commonly uses Armenian cucumbers and is passed down from generation to generation. This side dish is made with cucumbers, yogurt, and garlic or mint and is often consumed in the summer to combat the hot temperatures outside. It is typically served with pita chips or flatbread and also pairs well with chicken and rice.
Armenian Cucumbers were first bred in Armenia in the 15th century and were spread with natural immigration to the New World. Today, Armenian cucumbers can be found growing in California and are available at specialty grocers and farmers markets in the United States and Europe.