Pickles vs Cucumbers

Pickles vs Cucumbers

The idea of whether pickles are cucumbers is a subject of debate among most people. This is mainly because some pickles do not have a lot of seeds as compared to the original cucumbers and also because pickles are shorter as compared to cucumbers. This article aims at unveiling the truth between pickles and cucumbers. It will start by explaining what pickles are and what cucumbers are so that you can have a brief understanding of the 2. It will them move on to compare and contrast pickles and cucumbers so that you can be able to distinguish the 2.


Pickles are cucumbers that have been pickled using brine or vinegar and left to ferment for some period of time. There are different types of pickles and some of them include gherkin which is very small and it is usually fermented using vinegar. The second type of pickle is cornichon which is a French type of pickle is small like the gherkin but it is fermented using tarragon and vinegar. The 3rd type of pickles are brined pickles which are fermented with salt only. The other type of pickle is kosher dill which is fermented in brine, garlic and dill weed. Pickles are mainly used for salads, in dressings and also for stuffing chickens.


In botanical terms a cucumber is a fruit because it has many tiny seeds and it grows from the flowers of the cucumber plant. However, it is treated as a vegetable because of the way it is used in the culinary world. It is usually incorporated in different vegetable salads and it is a member of the gourd family together with squash. A cucumber comes from a plant that creeps from the ground and it has vines. A cucumber has a cylindrical shape and it is long as compared to a pickle. It can grow up to 2 feet but it is generally harvested when they are about half that side. It is 90% water and it has a watery flavour that has a dash of a light melon taste. Cucumbers are mainly used to make salads.

Differences between pickles and cucumbers

Production process

The first difference to note is that pickles go through fermentation whereas cucumbers are eaten whilst they are fresh.  Pickles are cucumbers that are pickled using vinegar, salt or brine and then they are left to go through fermentation so that they can last for a longer period and also so that they can have a bit of taste since cucumbers have a watery taste. So the fermentation process helps the pickles to have more flavour as compared to cucumbers.


Cucumbers are watery and they have a plain taste which is somehow similar to the taste of a melon whereas pickles have a sour like taste. This is also due to the fact that cucumbers are eaten when they are fresh and naturally they have a watery taste due to the fact that they are 90% water whereas pickles have certain additives like brine or vinegar that is why they have a distinct taste.

To add on, cucumbers are natural because they do not have any additives whereas pickles have additives. This is because cucumbers are harvested and eaten fresh whereas pickles have additives like vinegar, salt or brine added to them during the fermentation process

Physical appearance

In terms of physical appearance, cucumbers are longer as compared to pickles this is because cucumbers tend to shrink during the fermentation process. When cucumbers are pickled they tend to lose the majority of water that they have so they end up shrinking. This is because vinegar or brine pulls out the majority of the juices from the cucumber. The fact that they actually shrink is an advantage since they will be able to fit in a jar. On the other hand cucumbers are longer because they don’t have to go through the pickling process they are eaten whilst fresh.

Moreover, pickles have a yellow or brownish green colour whereas cucumbers are just dark green in colour. This is because when cucumbers are pickled they change from a dark green colour to a lighter colour because of the chemical reaction that happens when vinegar, salt or brine is added to the cucumbers during the fermentation process.


Pickles are usually stored in a jar whereas cucumbers do not need to be stored in a jar since they are eaten while fresh and they do not need any preservatives.

NB: although some people suggest that pickles have less seeds as compared to cucumbers it is important to note that there are some cucumbers that naturally have less seeds so they can be actually pickled to form pickles.

Similarities between pickles and cucumbers

Although pickles have a distinct name they are made from cucumbers and they are derived from the same plant. Thus, cucumbers and pickles are the same thing but it’s just that pickles go through fermentation whilst cucumbers are eaten while fresh.

Furthermore, the other similarity between pickles and cucumbers is that they can be used for the same purposes when cooking for example both can be used when making vegetable salads.


Pickles are basically cucumbers that have been pickled and fermented using things like brine, vinegar and salt. Pickle are much smaller in length as compared to cucumbers this is because they tend to shrink during the fermentation process. There are different types of pickles and they have more taste as compared to cucumbers which are made up of 90% water. Cucumbers are eaten raw and when they are fresh, they can be used to make salads just like pickles. It is important to know that although cucumbers and pickles are incorporated in vegetable salads they are actually fruits. This article has highlighted a number of differences between pickles and cucumbers and some of the differences are based on the taste, their colour as well as their appearance. The similarities derived from this article are that pickles and cucumber are the same thing but it’s just that pickles are cucumbers that have been pickled and fermented.

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