What the Heck is a Cucamelon?

Description:  Also known as Mexican sour gherkins, mouse melons (it’s grape-sized) or sanditas (“little watermelons” in Spanish), the cute-as-a-button cucamelon is an heirloom native to Mexico and Central America around since pre-Columbian times. They are distantly related to the cucumber, grow on lush, scrambling high-yielding vines and have an alternating dark- and light-green exterior, and a soft, light-green juicy interior.  

Flavor Profile: Despite its resemblance to a watermelon (albeit a tiny one), the flavor is heavy on the cucumber with a tinge of lime or lemon and a snappy crunch. 

Gardner Alert: Cucamelons are pest-resistant, drought-resistant, have beautiful vines, and don’t require any fancy pruning techniques. Planted in April or May, fruit is produced between July and September. A trellis should be used for support as the vines can grow as long as 10 feet. Rareseeds.com is a respectable source to purchase the seeds. 

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Culinary Uses: Similar to how traditional cucumbers are utilized, slice cucamelons into salads, chop into salsas for extra texture, or pickle whole with dill, peppercorns, and mint. They can also be speared with toothpicks and popped into martinis. Flavor a basic ham sandwich or add some color to a fancy cheeseboard.

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