First off, there are about 100 varieties of cucumbers actively cultivated around the world. About a third of them are consigned to the pickling bin. The remainder includes varieties that are best cooked and a number that are more popular in Asia or Europe than here.

Second, there’s nothing wrong with the common slicing cucumber, but the English cucumber has it beat in several ways:

  • It is generally sold wrapped in plastic to reduce water loss, and so is usually not waxed and therefore does not need peeling.
  • It is usually called seedless (which is an outright lie), but its seeds are much smaller and less prominent.
  • It is the seeds in a cucumber (and especially in an aging cucumber) that make it bitter, so a semi-seedless English cucumber is less likely to be bitter
  • It has been bred to be more easily digested than some other varieties (read: fewer burps).

Along with all those positive attributes, it’s also more expensive.