Cucamelon seeds Melothria scabra If you have never seen or eaten a cucamelon (and the chances are that
you haven’t) then you are in for a treat. Not only are they really interesting
plants which would look good scrambling up a fence or even over an ugly shed or
garage, but the fruits look like tiny little watermelons which turn out to
taste of cucumber with a hint of lime. You can get cucamelon seeds from Nicky’s
Nursery and you can sow them now to plant outside when it gets warmer – we are
all assuming it will get warmer, sometime soon!
Melothria scabra seeds (to give these delicious fruits their full
Latin name) are reliable to grow and you can put the plants really close
together because they like to twine and twist onto other stems so will help
support themselves this way. The fruits need to be harvested when they are
about the size of a biggish grape and if you plant the cucamelon seeds indoors
now you should be harvesting them by July and they will hopefully (weather
permitting) still be going strong in September.
Cucamelon is also known by lots of other names, many taken from the
appearance of the fruits – mouse melon is perhaps the cutest, the others being
Mexican sour gherkin, Mexican miniature watermelon and Mexican sour cucumber,
so perhaps it will come as no surprise to find that they grow very freely in
Mexico. The plants can be grown a second year from the roots, but they have to
be lifted and stored like dahlias and other tubers, so most people prefer to
grow cucamelon seeds fresh every year. They aren’t hard to get going and the
yield is very high, so it is simple to just buy a new packet of seeds every
year, especially if you don’t have too much gardening experience.
You can eat them just as they come off the vine and if you like to have
drinks and nibbles outside on nice summer evenings it is really fun to pour the
drinks and then point your guests at the vines to pick their own nibbles. You
can also pickle cucamelon fruits just like gherkins or cucumbers. You can
pickle them whole if you want and they look great that way mixed with olives
when they are done, or, for a crisper result, you can cut them in half. The
main thing to remember when you pickle Melothria scabra is that you must
salt them first or they can be soggy – still delicious, though!