This cute tiny fruit is the size of a grape, looks like a miniature watermelon named ‘cucamelon’ it is not a genetically-modified hybrid grown in a laboratory. They have a distinctive cucumber and citrus flavor.
Cucamelons are also referred to as “Mexican sour gherkin” or the common Spanish name is “Sandiita.”
Health Benefits of Cucamelons
These little fruits are far more beneficial to our health then you would imagine. They have copious amounts of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, as well as fiber. They are also low in calories, which encourages weight loss. Rich in potassium, vitamin C and potassium, cucamelons are great for lowering high cholesterol levels and promoting the work of other body organs. High in lycopene, carotenoid, beta-carotene, which aids in protecting cardiovascular health.
Cucamelons are well known in Mexico and Central America. In the Southern U.S. they can be found growing wild.
You can now grow cucamelons at home as they are rarely found at the markets.
How To Grow Cucamelons At Home
Surprisingly these exotic plants are one of the easiest plants to grow and can be grown pretty much anywhere. They are easier than cucumber grow. They don’t require pruning, they are resistant to drought and disease, virtually ignored by all pests. They are perfectly happy to grow outside once the frost has gone.
Cucamelons can be cultivated in tubs or pots, and even grow bags. They take approximately two to three months to mature. They grow on a thin vine surrounded by leaves that look similar to ivy. When ripe, they fall off the vine and drop to the ground.
Cucamelons are rare to find, so you would have to purchase them online.
Cucamelons are seasonal and need from 2 – 3 months to grow adequately. They need warm weather and soil temperature between 75F and 85F. Should you live in a colder region, grow them inside the house in a warm and sunny spot.
Cucamelons are best started indoors in April/May after the frost season. They are slow starters and need more time to germinate. It could take as long as 3 – 4 – weeks before you see the little green shoots appear.
Choose a sunny location in the home as they like full sun and rich fast-draining soil. They thrive on sunlight.
As they are a vining plant and grow up to 10 feet, it’s best to use a small trellis or a wire cage (tomato cage) to keep the stem and roots steady.
Cucamelons require nutrition-rich soil. The best soil to use would be of compost or manure. Add small lava rocks to encourage drainage.
Cucamelons don’t need loads of water; they do however require a steady moisture supply — basically, an inch of water every 5-7 days, especially during the summer months.
Pests and re-seeding.
Cucamelons are resistant to both pests and diseases. They re-seed on their own.
Training the vines.
The long tendrils tend to grasp onto just about anything they can, best you gently wrap and shape the vines throughout the trellis in the way you would like them to grow.
Once flowering has begun the little fruits will soon follow. Harvest the fruits once they have grown to full capacity or about the size of a grape. There is no need for all to be harvested at once time, as they tend to grow differently.
No fancy pruning is needed. Trim off any dying leaves.
How To Use Cucamelons
Eaten in Mexico for centuries as a delicacy, cucamelons are great in stir-fries. Sliced up into a salad. Added to sandwiches. A party nibble or even garnish for cocktails. They can be pickled as you would a cucumber. Cucamelons are delicious as a zesty snack on their own, either eaten raw or sprinkled with dried herbs, possibly a drizzle of olive oil.