When it comes to weirdly names varieties of veg – the burpless cucumber really takes the cake. But what does the name ‘burpless cucumber’ actually mean? Will they stop you from burping after you eat them?
Are cucumbers even known for causing you to burp in the first place? Does burpless mean something else, and we’ve got the wrong end of the stick?
Don’t worry – we’re here to answer all of your questions, and explain what exactly what a burpless cucumber is, why it got its name
Do Cucumbers Make You Burp?
Though it might seem weird to some of us – yes, cucumbers can make some people susceptible to burping. This is because they are rich in the chemical cucurbitacin.
When eating a normal cucumber, you can reduce the amount of cucurbitacin by peeling off the skin (where most of the chemical is located), as well as removing some of the outer flesh, and cutting the stem off of the end of the vegetable.
They may also be effected by similar foods in the same categories and veg families – such as zucchinis/courgette/squash, melon, pumpkin and other gourds. This is again caused by high levels of the cucurbitacin chemical.
What Is A Burpless Cucumber?
Seed companies have selectively bred burpless cucumbers in order to reduce digestive problems, such as flatulence, gas producing burps, and reflux.
It has lower levels of a chemical called cucurbitacin, which is found in the skin and stem of the typical cucumber plant, and is believed to cause the release of gastrointestinal gas through the esophagus and mouth.
Burpless cucumbers are cucumbers which have been specifically bred with no or low levels of this chemical.
Not only does this reduce the likelihood of suffering from burping after eating one of these cucumbers, but also reduces the bitter taste of the cucumber fruit.
Burpless cucumber plants will produce fruits that have thinner skins, and fewer seeds, therefore reducing levels of cucurbitacin. As they have such thin skins, they don’t need to be peeled.
The burpless cucumber is grown for commercial use in both American and Asian markets.
If you are looking for really low cucurbitacin levels, the Asian burpless cucumber (which is also known as the English cucumber, the telegraph cucumber, and the trellis cucumber) has lower levels of cucurbitacin than the American version of the burpless cucumber.
If you fancy growing your own burpless cucumber, you can purchase seeds, and plant them in your own kitchen garden.
So What Does ‘Burpless Cucumber’ Actually Mean?
All in all, a burpless cucumber boils down to a variety of cucumber that has reduced levels of cucurbitacin, which is the chemical compound that is believed to cause an elevated level of burping.
It has been selectively bred over generations of low cucurbitacin cucumbers specifically for this purpose, by cucumber seed merchants and farmers.
Does Cucurbitacin Really Cause You To Burp?
Cucrbitaacin, a chemical compound that is naturally found in cucumbers (specifically in the skin and stem of the fruit). It is said to cause gas, which then induces abnormal levels of burping.
Therefore, seed merchants have produced cucumbers with low or no cucurbitacin by selective breeding, and have theorized that these cucumbers will not cause any burping.
Cucurbitacin is also the compound that causes the bitter taste in cucumbers – so you will be able to taste how much cucurbitacin is in the cucumber – the more bitter the cucumber tastes, the more cucurbitacin it contains. This bitter compound can result in increased burps in a select few people.
In addition to genetics (which is what seed merchants that have created burpless cucumbers have manipulated), growing conditions can affect the concentration of cucurbitacin in these fruits.
If the cucumber is grown in extreme heat and/or drought conditions, the levels of cucurbitacin will increase, and it will develop a more bitter taste.
The cucurbitacin compound is the plant’s way of protecting its own fruits from being eaten by animals and insects – because these predators do not like the unpleasant, bitter taste of cucurbitacin, and are therefore discouraged from eating the fruits.
Horticultural technologist Todd C. Wehner found that there is not actually any clear evidence that the cucurbitacin in cucumbers is actually the compound that cause you to burp.
However, there is also contrasting scientific evidence that Asian trellis cucumbers (which are often marketed in the U.S. as a burpless cucumbers), might cause fewer burps in the people that are already susceptible to digestive problems.
However, it is hard to pin down what exactly causes this lower level of burping, so we don’t know whether this change in burping has been caused by low/no cucurbitacin, or because they are just less bitter, or by another, unknown characteristic that is exclusive to this kind of cucumber fruit.
Cucumbers have been known to cause digestive and gastrointestinal problems for some people – one of these issues is an excessive or abnormal burpiness.
Because of this, horticulturalists, seed manufacturer and cucumber growers developed the burpless cucumber through selective breeding to reduce cucurbitacins, which ere said to be the root cause of these stomach/digestive tract upsets.
However, there isn’t the scientific evidence to back this up, and the jury is still out about what compound actually causes you to burp more.
Regardless of whether burpless cucumbers are actually burpless, this variety does have a lovely thin skin, so they never require any peeling before you pop them in your salads.
They can make a great addition to your kitchen garden or veg patch.