Rightly named, lemon cucumbers resemble lemons in size, color and shape. They have a milder, sweeter taste than green cucumbers. They mature in 60 to 75 days, making them a good choice for cool climates with short growing seasons. Harvest them when they are small, no longer than 2 to 4 inches.
Pick lemon cucumbers when they are young and small. Larger cucumbers develop hard seeds. Begin checking the cucumber plants daily two months after planting them because lemon cucumbers grow quickly and may become overripe within a day or two. Snip them off with scissors or twist them off gently. Do not step on the vines or damage them.
Growing Lemon Cucumbers
Grow lemon cucumbers as you would any cucumbers. Plant them in full sun after the last expected frost from seed or from nursery transplants. Add a few shovelfuls of compost or well-rotted manure to the soil before planting and water as needed to keep the soil evenly moist. Pull small weeds by hand, but avoid cultivating the soil deeply because you may damage shallow cucumber roots. Mulch the soil with black plastic or untreated grass clippings to preserve moisture and keep weeds down. Trellis or cage lemon cucumbers.
Once picked, refrigerate lemon cucumbers and use them within one week. Placing them in plastic wrap retains moisture and prevents shriveling. Once lemon cucumbers start producing fruit, keep picking them. Overripe fruits left on the vine signal the plant to slow or halt production.
Eat lemon cucumbers fresh as a snack or in salads. Add a few sweet slices to ice water along with a sprig of mint and a splash of lime juice for a refreshing summer drink. Use lemon cucumbers in any recipes calling for fresh cucumbers.