What’s that food?

Sometimes it is simply enjoyable to grow unique plants in your garden. The cucamelon fits that bill perfectly. Cucamelon seeds produce vines that could be mistaken for English ivy if you don’t look too closely, but the fruits are cute and novel, with their miniature watermelon appearance. The fruit is about the size of a grape when it is ready to be harvested.

Native to Central America, the cucamelon is also called the Mexican Sour Gherkin or Sandiita, which means ‘little watermelon’ in Spanish. Despite the name and looking like tiny watermelons, a cucamelon has a cucumber flavour with slight citrus notes. Their tangy flavour is refreshing, and they can be eaten whole in a salad (like a grape tomato), or sliced and tossed with peppers in olive oil for a tasty treat.

Cucamelon Photo credit: Laura Weatherbie/Salty

Eat them fresh or pickle them for a crunchy treat. Pop them into a martini instead of an olive, the possibilities are endless.

You are not likely to find cucamelons in your grocery store so why not plan to grow them next season? The plant is a heat-loving tropical plant that is most productive in hot weather or a greenhouse setting but will still grow here in PEI nicely. Start the seeds indoors in early spring and treat as you would a conventional cucumber seedling. They are fast growers and you should see full plants towards the end of August.

About Salty Staff

A diverse group of people, the Salty team works hard each month to bring you great stories about PEI's food and farming community.

View All Posts