Cucamelon - The Adorable Doll House Melon
Looking like perfect Lilliputian watermelons for a dollhouse, Cucamelon is a tiny tangy bite-sized treasure that easily matches the crunch of pretzels or chips. When mature, the 1" long light-green tiny watermelon-like fruit has a white, crisp, and crunchy flesh with a slight lemony tartness.
Its unique flavors, rampant and pest-free growth coupled with an almost embarrassing productivity have made this ancient vining vegetable a darling of home gardeners and chefs alike.
Cucamelon is an excellent conversation piece in the garden, or as an edible centerpiece at the table. The vine is attractive and productive enough for hanging baskets. Also known as the Mexican Sour Gherkin or Mexican Sour Cucumber because the fruit becomes sour when overripe, mouse melon, or "Sandita" (little watermelon in Spanish).
One person described them as, "Cucumber with a bit of watermelon rind and a squeeze of lemon juice."
Check out the short video in the video tab above from James Wong - English botanist, BBC personality, and "obsessive foodie grower" on the cucamelon from Sutton's Seeds in England. On a side note, we provided seed to Sutton's for the initial grow-out!
Known to have been a part of the Aztec diet, cucamelon is native to Mexico and Central America and is commonly served in Central America today as a delicacy. They have been a staple of Mexican cuisine since pre-Columbian times.
The first European description was by French botanist Charles Victor Naudin in 1866.
The name of Melothria scabra is descriptive of the fruit – Melothria is from ancient Greek mēlothrōn meaning "kind of white grape", referring to the small grape-like fruit. The common name of cucamelon was coined in the 1980s – a combination of 'cucumber' and 'melon' to better describe the diminutive fruits when introducing them to North American gardeners.
Their uses are only limited by your imagination, as they are excellent in stir-fries, pickled just like French gherkins, sliced in half to top salads while sparking conversation, or chopped and added to salsas. Party cocktails are more engaging when garnished with these miniature watermelons!
Their prolific vining growth makes them a dual-purpose plant, with the leaves shading other sensitive plants while their butter-yellow button-sized flowers bring in loads of smaller pollinators.
Growing cucamelon is exactly like growing cucumbers - plant seed in warm soil, with moderate moisture and provide a trellis for the cucamelon plant to climb.
Blossom set will be delayed in comparison to cucumbers - just when you think there will be no blossoms, you'll walk out to see the vines covered with button-sized yellow blossoms.
In favorable climates, cucamelons produce tubers in the roots that can be overwintered for an earlier and large crop the second year!
From the soil to the seed to the food you eat - we'll help you grow your best garden!
Mouse Melons are Too Much Fun!
I grew these in a barrel with a net trellis and what fun! I go out every morning and pick a bowlful for snacking and salads. My dogs love to snack on the foliage as well, but not to worry! Still plenty of little melons for all of us! I sent my granddaughter out to pick and it kept her busy for quite a while looking for them among the leaves. A definite repeat customer for next summer!
Such a delightful bite!
What an interesting little veggie! At first the vines seemed so thin & delicate that I wasn't sure if they'd like where I had planted them. I was wrong! They took off and produced many handfuls of "tiny melons", which were so good!! They have a nice, cucumberish taste and crunch! Hubby loved then in his lunch and often shared them with the other guys at his construction sites. Quite a conversation starter! I think kids would love these and be interested in growing them and snacking on them! Great seed from Terrior Seeds!!! I've bought my second batch of cucamelon seeds and can't wait to eat them again!
A very different snack
Tastes mostly like cucumbers. Looks like miniature melons. Very surprising and unusual little fruit. Ideal for lunchboxes.
Number One Cucumber for children and young at heart
This eyeball size cucumber is one of the most fascinating things Ive ever grown, and believe me. I've grown it all... All the children in the neighboorhood take turns picking and eating the cucamelon strait off the vine, and there is plenty for the whole neighborhood. One of the annoying things about a regular cucumber is peeling and seeding it, no need with the cucamelon. Just cut it in half, put it in salad and wala-instant food! Super prolific, and animal resistant- believe me there are no squirrels stealing these grape sized cukes- and very tasty. A MUST grow for every gardener!
Huge hit with the kids
These are easy to grow and perfect for little hands to pick and enjoy. A great way to get kids to eat healthily.
Cucamelons!!! Where have you been all my life?!!!
Growing these jewels for the first time! Saw James Wong's youtube promotion of them on one of my Facebook feeds. I was hooked immediately! I started the cucamelons indoors and then transplanted them into my raised beds. I was a little nervous at first because the vines are so delicate to begin with. But, they took off and are climbing my trellis like gangbusters! Tons of cucamelons hanging! I seem to eat about as many as I pick right at the trellis!! Be sure to put these on your MUST PLANT list! Ordered my seeds frm Terroir Seeds and they were a pleasure to do business with.
Delicious, Attractive, and Marketable
I love these little things. They are baby cucumbers, perfect for all kinds of things. There is a market for them but very few people have seen them. I'm increasing my planting next year.
I grew these for the first time last summer and I highly recommend them. I am not one for difficult, time-consuming gardening and these grew great in a whiskey barrel with a few of pieces of wood and some wire strung across. We had more than enough with only about 4 seed pods.
I ordered a package of seeds for 2014 spring. I gave away several seeds but planted 15 in peat pot pellets on March 1st in a sunny window indoors, and had 100% germination in a week. Others have mentioned some struggles when these plants start out, but mine have done great. I moved them outside around the first of April, with temps avg upper 40s / 50s at night at 60s/low 70s during the day. They are doing well and starting to climb a trellis. I look forward to seeing how theyll do once it gets hot here.
These Mouse Melons are Hearty
I live in Wisconsin. I had seen mouse melons advertised in Birds and Blooms and was just intrigued by the whole idea. Cant find them here up north. So I ordered from these folks. These little melons started slow, but lasted quite a long time. I took several handfuls off my plant. And my 9 year old granddaughter just was fascinated by tiny watermelons. Obviously not a standard planting for Wisconsin, but they grew and they were really good.
We will grow these every year!
We LOVED these! We grew them on a tall circular cage, and they climbed all the way to the top. Adorable melons covered the vines. Very easy to grow, very prolific, and tasty. We had some fresh and canned some--great either way.