August 25th, 2015
I thought I was familiar with most every vegetable worth growing around here, but York County Master Gardener and edible-grower extraordinaire Dennis Mawhinney stumped me a few weeks ago with the cucamelon.
Dennis got ahold of some seed and tried this vining crop, which produces gobs of grape-sized fruits that look exactly like miniature watermelons.
That’s why cucamelons are also called “mouse melons,” or in their central-American homeland, “Mexican sour gherkins.”
Although the fruits look like cute little watermelons, they taste a whole lot more like mild cucumbers flavored with a dash of lemon.
You can eat them right off the vine, slice them in salads, chop them into salsa, or do what Dennis did, pickle them whole in jars like any other miniature gherkin.
Me? I thought they were cute looking but less flavorful than a good ol’ cucumber. They were extremely crunchy, though, which I think adds to their snacking allure.
Dennis was particularly impressed with their prolific production.
Once the weather heats up, the skinny vines shoot up as much as 10 feet (with support) and produce a continuous supply of hanging cucamelons from July into fall.