At a farmers market recently, I came across a variety of cucumber called “Burpless Cucumber”. Does it mean you won’t burp after eating these cucumbers? Do cucumbers even cause burping? Does burpless mean something else entirely? With so many questions, I decided to do some research to find out what is a burpless cucumber.
Seed companies market Burpless Cucumbers as cucumbers that reduce digestive problems including reflux, flatulence and gas producing burps. A chemical compound called cucurbitacin, found on the skin and stem of the cucumber plant, is believed to cause burpiness.
Do Cucumbers Make You Burp?
Yes, some people are susceptible to burping after eating cucumbers. People affected might also experience digestive problems with other related foods. These may include zucchini/squash, melon and pumpkin. And this is due to cucurbitacins (more on this below).
Some methods to reduce the likelihood of burping included peeling the cucumber skin, some of the outer flesh and cutting off the stem end of the fruit.
What are Burpless Cucumbers?
Burpless cucumbers are cucumbers bred with no or reduced levels of cucurbitacin. This reduces bitterness and reportedly the likelihood of burping.
Cucurbitacin is highest on the skin and stem of the cucumber fruit.
The burpless cucumber plant produces cucumbers with thinner skins and fewer seeds than other cucumber varieties. And because of their thin skins, they do not require peeling.
The American and Asian market both produce Burpless Cucumbers.
Additionally, the Asian Burpless Cucumber, also known as English cucumber, trellis cucumber and telegraph cucumber, has fewer cucurbitacins than the American Burpless Cucumber.
So, What Does Burpless Cucumber Mean?
Burpless cucumbers are cucumbers with reduced cucurbitacin which is the chemical compound believed to cause burping.
Tell Me More About Cucurbitacin, Does It Cause Burping?
Cucumbers naturally contain the chemical compound cucurbitacin. This is said to be the reason behind gas inducing burps.
By breeding cucumbers with low or no cucurbitacin, the theory goes that you will have cucumbers that do not cause burping.
Cucurbitacin produces a bitter taste in cucumbers. The more cucurbitacin, the more bitter the taste of the cucumber. And the increased digestive upset resulting in burps in some people.
Growing conditions also affect cucurbitacin and bitterness levels. In extreme heat and/or drought, cucurbitacin increases and causes more bitterness.
The cucurbitacin compound is natures way of protecting the cucumber fruit from being eaten by animals and other predators. And that’s because the unpleasant bitter taste deters predators.
However, an experiment by Todd C. Wehner found here found there is no clear evidence to confirm that it is, in fact, the cucurbitacin in cucumbers that produces burping.
There was, however, evidence to suggest that Asian trellis cucumbers, marketed in the US as burpless, may produce less burpiness to those people already susceptible to digestive problems. But not because they are cucurbitacin or bitter free. There is still no clear evidence that cucurbitacin is the cause of burping.
Cucumbers are known to cause digestive problems in some people, including burpiness. As a result, the Burpless Cucumber has been bred to reduce cucurbitacins, which is said to cause digestive upset. However, the jury is still out as to which chemical compound is causing burping.
In any case, burpless cucumbers have lovely thin skins, so they do not require peeling, and they taste delicious. This makes them a great addition to the home vegetable garden. So why not try them in your food garden?