How To Grow Your Own Cucamelons
Do you ever come across a photo of something that just looks too cute and fantastical to be real? That’s how I feel about the cucamelon, but this darling little fruit is indeed real! It looks like a cross between a watermelon and a cucumber, and is scientifically known as melothria scabra. The cucamelon is often also called a Mexican sour gherkin or mouse melon.
A cucamelon tastes like a cucumber, but with a fresh, slightly citrus-like flavor. Each cucamelon is about the size of a grape and grows on a vine. You aren’t likely to see cucamelons in the grocery store, but you can grow your own without a ton of effort.
These climbing vine plants prefer warm climates with lots of full sunlight. The cucamelon prefers a sandy soil type, and the soil needs to be well-draining. Although cucumbers require lots of water, it’s the opposite with cucamelons. These hardy plants need very little water, even in extremely dry conditions. In fact, over-watering a cucamelon is more of a threat than under-watering it.
You can start the cucamelon growing process by planting seeds in a contained growing environment like a tray or in small pots. Once the seedlings sprout, you can transfer them to your garden. Like most climbing vine plants, a cucamelon prefers having a trellis or other structure to cling to as the plant gets bigger.
Once your cucamelons are about the size of large grapes, they’re ready to be plucked from the vine. Use them in salads, as a cocktail garnish, in bruschetta, or cooked up in a stir fry. You can pickle them, too! The cucamelon is so darn cute, I think I’m going to have to try growing my own this year just so I can look at them!