Cucamelons are cute and nutritious, grape-sized fruits, a combination of cucumber and watermelon. They are also known as Mexican sour gherkin and ‘sandiita’ and offer numerous health benefits since they are rich in fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
These sweet little fruits improve health in various ways, as they:
- Improve heart health, due to the high lycopene and beta-carotene content
- Prevent strokes
- Stimulate weight loss
- Keep the body tissues and organs healthy
- Delay the aging process
Cucamelons are also rich in potassium, vitamin C and potassium, so they lower cholesterol levels.
What’s more, you can grow cucamelons at home, and make sure you have an endless supply of these delicious fruits right there in your garden!
Here is all you have to do:
-- You can purchase cucamelons online, but make sure they are labeled organic and free of pesticides. If you have a cucamelon at home, extract the seeds from the ripe fruit, place them in a jar of water for a week, and afterwards, rinse the seeds and dry off well with a paper towel. Store the seeds in a paper envelope and keep it in a cool place.
-- Cucamelons need about 65-75 days to grow fully. They need warm weather and a soil temperature between 75F and 85F. If you are living in a colder area, grow them in pots, kept in a warm and bright spot.
-- Plant the cucamelons between April and May, in a pot kept indoors. Make sure you leave 12-square-inches between each pot. Make sure the pots are exposed to direct sunlight for 6 hours daily.
-- Since it is a vining plant, the cucamelon can grow up to 10 feet, and you will need small trellis or a wire cage to keep the stem and roots of the fruit steady.
-- The soil needs to be nutrient-rich and easily drained, made of compost or manure. Add a tablespoon of 6-10-10 analysis fertilizer into each planted fruit, and place a few tiny lava rocks in the pots to encourage better soil drainage. After two months of planting it, make sure you add a 3-inch side compost dressing every month
-Make sure you keep the cucamelons watered properly. An inch of water every 5-7 days will be enough. If you live in a colder place, use a 3 to 4-inch layer of lightweight mulch to surround the fruit.
- Cucamelons are resistant to both pests and diseases risks, and reseed on their own
- Wrap the vines together as the cucamelons grow, to avoid damage and tangling of the tendrils
- Harvest the fruits in July, as soon as they are grown to their full capacity or the size of a grape, right off the tree. The harvesting season ends in mid-November
- Trim any dying leaves, and prune cucamelons when the season comes to a close
Then, just eat them raw or add them to your salads, salsas, and main courses, and enjoy their unique taste!
Additionally, we suggest you try the following delicious recipes:
- 1 Pint Cucamelons, cut in half
- 2 Cipollini Onions, peeled and finely diced
- 1 Bird’s Eye Chili, finely sliced
- Small Handful of Basil or Mint, chiffonade
- 1 Tbsp Local Organic Honey
- Juice of Half a Lime
- 1/4 C Good Quality Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- Coarse Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
- Toasted Bread
In a bowl, toss the cucamelons, Cippolini onions, Chili, and basil or mint, and set them aside. Then, combine the rest of the ingredients in a Mason jar, season to taste, and cover with a lid.
Shake until you get a homogeneous mixture. Pour over prepared vegetables, stir well, and season again. Just spoon over toasted bread.
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, minced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Stir all the ingredients in a medium bowl, cover it, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Then, you can serve this salsa over marinated grilled chicken. Enjoy!