When you place them side-by-side, it’s very easy to mix up cucumbers and zucchini. However, while both are members of the Cucurbitaceae family and are considered gourds, zucchini is additionally a squash, with the scientific nameCucurbita pepo.
But of course, there are more differences than that! For one, when you touch them, you can almost immediately tell the difference—cucumbers are hard and cool to the touch, while zucchini tends to be warmer and yielding, with a mild grittiness. In this article, we provide a detailed overview of the many key differences between Cucumber and Zucchini.
Cucumber is a widely-cultivated creeping vine plant in the Cucurbitaceae family that bears usually cylindrical fruits, which are used as culinary vegetables.
The cucumber is a creeping vine that roots in the ground and grows up trellises or other supporting frames, wrapping around supports with thin, spiraling tendrils. The plant may also root in a soilless medium, whereby it will sprawl along the ground in lieu of a supporting structure. The vine has large leaves that form a canopy over the fruits.
The cucumber plant is a tender annual with a rough, succulent, trailing stem. The hairy leaves have three to five pointed lobes, and the stem bears branched tendrils by which the plant can be trained to supports. The five-petaled yellow flowers are unisexual.
The fruit of typical cultivars of cucumber is roughly cylindrical, but elongated with tapered ends, and may be as large as 62 centimeters (24 in) long and 10 centimeters (4 in) in diameter.
Cucumber is usually considered a vegetable because of how it’s used in the culinary world. However, as it grows from flowers and contains seeds,it’s botanically a fruit. Regardless of its fruit or vegetable status, there are countless ways to enjoy cucumber in your cooking or beauty routine.
The nutritional value of the cucumber is low, but its delicate flavor makes it popular for salads and relishes. Small fruits are often pickled. The cucumber can be grown in frames or on trellises in greenhouses in cool climates and is cultivated as a field crop and in home gardens in warmer areas.
The zucchini, courgette or baby marrow is a summer squash, a vining herbaceous plant whose fruit are harvested when their immature seeds and epicarp are still soft and edible. It’s usually a dark emerald green on the outside, but some varieties are a sunny yellow. The inside is usually a pale white with a greenish tinge. The skin, seeds and flesh are all edible and packed with nutrients.
Zucchini plants are typically bushy and non-vining, though some varieties have a creeping habit. The leaves are large and palmately lobed, and both the stems and the leaves have small prickly trichomes (plant hairs). The large unisexual flowers have five yellow-orange petals and are pollinated by bees and other insects.
In botany, the zucchini’s fruit is a pepo, a berry (the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower) with a hardened epicarp. In cookery, it is a vegetable, usually cooked and eaten as a savory dish or accompaniment.
Zucchini has a mild taste that verges on sweet, but mostly takes on the flavor of whatever it’s cooked with. Zucchini is a low-calorie, high-fiber food with zero fat, making it a fairly healthy choice. It can help keep your bowels regular and your blood sugar stable, and overall is beneficial for gut health. It also contains Vitamins A and C, though the content varies on whether the zucchini is cooked or raw.
Zucchini vs Cucumber: Key Differences
|Points of Comparison||Zucchini||Cucumber|
|Botanical Name||Cucurbita pepo||Cucumis sativus|
|Color||Zucchini fruits are striped or uniform-colored and can be any shade of green, deep yellow or orange color.||Cucumber can be white yellow or orange. Regular cucumbers have green stripes on darker green skin.|
|Seeds||Cucumber seeds are usually visible running down the middle of the fruit.||The zucchini’s seeds are smaller and blend into the flesh.|
|Texture||Zucchini are more warm and yielding, with a slight grittiness under the fingertips.||Cucumbers are generally hard, waxy, and cool to the touch.|
|Heart-shaped leaves||Zucchini leaves protrude out from the stems of the plants.||Cucumber leaves hang from theirs like grapes on a vine.|
|Flowers||Zucchini flowers typically point upward toward the sky.||Cucumber flowers droop downward near the stem.|
|Havesting||Zucchinis can be harvested at any size.||Cucumbers are usually picked when they are immature.|
|Eating||While zucchini can be eaten raw, it is usually cooked, which brings out the sweet, mild flavor of the vegetable.||Cucumbers are almost always eaten raw, in dishes such as salads or sandwiches.|
|Taste||Zucchini are ‘heartier’ and tend to be a little bitter.||A cucumber is typically crisp and juicy.|
|Storage||Zucchini will stay fresh for four or five days if you store it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer.||Cucumbers are sensitive to temperatures below 50°F and should be stored at room temperature – not in the refrigerator.|
|Flower Edibility||The flowers of zucchini are eaten as a delicacy.||Cucumber flowers are not edible.|
|Vitamins||Zucchini is richer in vitamin B and vitamin C as compared to cucumbers.||Cucumber is less richer in vitamin B and vitamin C as compared to Zucchini.|
|Calorific Value||Zucchini have a slightly higher calorific value as compared to Cucumber. 100g of zucchini contains 17 calories.||100g of cucumber contains 15 calories with its skin and 12 calories without.|
|Growth||Zucchini grows well both indoors and outdoors but is most productive when given lots of space to spread out.||Cucumbers thrives best in warm, sunny areas with plenty of water.|
|Availabilty||Zucchinis are at their peak during the late summer and early fall months.||Cucumbers are typically available year-round.|
- Similar to the cucumber, zucchini is also cylindrical, dark green on the outside, and pale on the inside.
- Considered an annual plant, there are three main varieties of cucumber—slicing, pickling, and seedless—within which several cultivars have been created.
- Cucumber grows from flowers and contains seeds,it’s botanically a fruit. A zucchini (a type of squash) start out from a flower on a vine that requires pollination to grow, so it’s technically a fruit though it is usually considered a vegetable because of how it’s used in the culinary world.
- The ordinary zucchini fruits are striped or uniform-colored and can be any shade ofgreen,whereas the golden zucchini has a deep yellow or orange color.
- Greencucumbers are the most common; however, cucumbers can bewhite, yellow, and orange.Regular cucumbers have green stripes on darker green skin.
- Cucumber seeds are usually visible running down the middle of the fruit, while the zucchini’s are smaller and blend into the flesh.
- Cucumbers are generally hard, waxy, and cool to the touch, while zucchini are more warm and yielding, with a slight grittiness under the fingertips.
- Both have large heart-shaped leaves, but zucchini protrude out from the stems of the plants, while cucumbers hang from theirs like grapes on a vine.
- Zucchini flowers typically point upward toward the sky, cucumber flowers droop downward near the stem.
- Cucumbers are usually picked when they are immature, while zucchinis can be harvested at any size.
- Cucumbers are almost always eaten raw, in dishes such as salads, sandwiches, or on a crudité tray with a dip and other cut, fresh vegetables.
- When eating cucumbers or zucchini raw, they have different textures and flavors. A cucumber is typically crisp and juicy while zucchini are ‘heartier’ and tend to be a little bitter.
- While zucchini can be eaten raw, it is usually cooked, which brings out the sweet, mild flavor of the vegetable.
- Cucumbers are sensitive to temperatures below 50°F and should be stored at room temperature – not in the refrigerator. Zucchini will stay fresh for four or five days if you store it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer.
- Cucumbers have a slightly lower calorific value as compared to zucchini.
- Zucchini are also about 95 percent water and contain roughly the same amount of vitamins and minerals as cucumbers. Zucchini is richer in vitamin B and vitamin C as compared to cucumbers.
- The flowers of zucchini are eaten as a delicacy. Cucumber flowers are not edible.
- Cucumbers thrives best in warm, sunny areas with plenty of water whereas zucchini grows well both indoors and outdoors but is most productive when given lots of space to spread out.
- Cucumbers are typically available year-round, while zucchinis are at their peak during the late summer and early fall months