Cucamelon is a tiny fruit that looks like a watermelon and is approximately the size of a big grape. It is known as mouse melon, Mexican sour cucumber, Mexican sour gherkin, and Melothria scabra. You can eat the entire cucamelon fruit, including the skin, when it is mature. The slightly acidic flavor is delightful. Cucamelons are supposed to taste like a sour cucumber with a lime twist.
These little tart fruits are eaten because people believe they are very good for your health. The cucamelon plant’s health benefits have received little attention. Cucamelon fruits, on the other hand, are thought to include antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients.
You’ll learn more about this delectable fruit with the help of this article, which resembles a miniature watermelon. In addition, you’ll learn how to cultivate your own cucamelon plant and reap all of the benefits that come with it.
What is a Mouse Melon (Cucamelon or Mexican Sour Cucumber, Melothria scabra)
Many people believe that cucamelon (mouse melon) is a superfood, and it has become a popular fruit. The cucamelon is known by its Latin name, Melothria scabra, according to the Royal Horticultural Society. Cucamelons originate in Mexico and are part of the Cucurbitaceae family.
As a result, mouse melons (cucamelons) are connected to cucumbers, melons, and pumpkins. Mouse melons, Mexican sour gherkins, and Mexican sour cucumbers are all terms used to describe Cucamelons (melothria scabra). Sandiita, or little watermelon, is the Spanish name for cucamelons. Cucamelons are also known as pepquinos or the Mexican tiny watermelon, among other names.
Where Do Cucamelons (Mexican Sour Gherkin) Grow?
Cucamelons are a Mexican and Central American delicacy. Cucamelons have been growing in Mexico for centuries, despite the fact that most people have only heard about them in the last few years. The good news is that you can get cucamelon fruits right here in the United States.
If you live in a warm environment, you may grow your own cucamelons. Cucamelon seeds, like cucumbers, can be purchased and grown. The fruits of cucamelons drop off the vine when they are mature, which you can tell by looking at the vine.
How to Grow Cucamelons (Mouse Melon, Mexican Sour Gherkin)
Cucamelons are considerably simpler to establish than cucumbers, despite being in the same family. The cucamelon plant’s small fruits, which appear like tiny watermelons, are also appealing to observe. In local health shops, it’s unusual to come across cucamelon fruits.
You’ll likely have to grow cucamelons yourself if you want to enjoy the flavor and medicinal properties of them. Grow this perennial exotic plant with these step-by-step instructions.
Where to buy cucamelon seeds?
Cucamelon seeds are the first item you’ll need. Online retailers, such as Amazon (like this one), have a wide selection of seeds for growing a cucamelon plant. It’s critical to buy high-quality cucamelon seeds in order for your seeds to germinate and grow. As a result, look at the seller’s online reviews.
Organic or chemical-free cucamelon seeds are the best choice. Saving the seeds from ripe cucamelons is a bonus of growing your own in your garden. This will enable you to expand your cucamelon plantation the following year.
You may have to dig up, store, and replant the tuber every year, despite the fact that cucamelon is a perennial plant. The tuber is a potato-like root structure of the cucamelon plant. A greater quantity of mature delicious cucamelons is often produced from growing cucamelons from the tuber.
The best climate to grow cucamelons
Plant your cucamelon seeds in the Northern Hemisphere around April or May (best). Between 75°F and 85°F (24°C and 30°C) is ideal for the soil temperature. The majority of people grow their own cucamelons by potting them indoors before transferring them outdoors. Since the developing cucamelon vine will be damaged by frost, it’s vital to avoid it.
How to prepare the soil to grow Mexican sour gherkins
You should plant cucamelon trees in the proper kind of soil to ensure that you get a excellent crop of fruit. Cucamelons need fast-draining, rich in nutrients soil, similar to how cucumbers grow. In order to provide enough food for your cucamelon plants to thrive all summer, add work compost into your soil.
It may take several weeks for the cucamelon seeds to sprout, so be patient. You should notice some cucamelon seedlings sprouting after roughly 3 or 4 weeks. To help your cucamelon plant grow properly, you’ll need to water it on a regular basis. One seed per pot and cultivate the plants in a greenhouse is another way to grow Mexican sour gherkins.
The best location to grow cucamelons (mouse melons)
Plant your cucamelon plants in locations with plenty of sunlight to ensure a successful crop. The mouse melon plant requires 6 hours of sunlight every day to thrive, so it’s vital to keep them out of any shade.
How to help your cucamelon plant grow well
When people grow cucamelon plants using a wire cage or trellis to support the vine, many people have success. To keep the stems and mini-melons off the ground, you can use a small tomato cage or trellis. Purchase a trellis that is bigger than you think you’ll need since cucamelon vines may grow quite large.
By providing enough moisture, you may assist your little Mexican watermelons to thrive. Water your plants thoroughly once a week during the summer months. You may, however, have to water the sprawling vines twice a week if the summer is particularly hot.
Monitoring the moisture level in the soil is crucial. Only water the cucamelon plants if the soil dries out if the weather gets colder. For dryness, check the top 1-inch of soil. Mulching around the base of your cucamelon plant is another technique to help it grow and produce tasty fruit.
Mulch keeps weeds at bay by keeping moisture levels in check and preventing your plant development. Mexican miniature watermelons have thin vines that can grow in every direction and cling to almost anything. gently wrap the vines through the trellis to ensure healthy growth.
Pests and Problems
The fact that cucamelons grow on their own makes them incredibly sturdy. The vines and birds are usually pests-free, which is why they stay away. Cucamelons seldom get diseased, and they shouldn’t need any pesticides since they’re typically pest-free.
When is a cucamelon ripe and ready to eat?
You will notice that flowers appear before the grape-sized fruits of the cucamelon vines appear. You’ll have to wait approximately two or three weeks after you first notice the flowers until the fruits are mature to collect. The larger cucamelon fruits develop firmer with age and have more seeds, so you can pick any size of them.
Squeezing a cucamelon to see how soft it is is the best way to tell if it’s ripe. Around the beginning of July, these little watermelons are typically ready to harvest. The vine will continue to produce fruit until around the middle of November if you carefully remove the ripened fruit.
How to care for your mouse melon plant
Cutting back some of the foliage on your “melon cucumber” plant throughout the growing season may help keep it healthy. The vine’s leaves should be removed to allow more light to pass through. Cut any yellow or dead leaves off, too. You may notice them turning yellow.
You should trim back on the dead foliage at the conclusion of harvest in the autumn. You must dig up the tuber to help defend it from freezing. This may be accomplished by using a garden fork to gently extract the tuber from the ground.
You can store cucamelon tubers in a large pot of potting soil to overwinter them. To avoid touching each other, you should put the tubers in layers in the pot. Throughout the winter, you may store the pot in a frost-free location until April, when it will be used again.
What is the Best Way to Eat a Cucamelon (Mouse Melon, Mexican sour Gherkin)?
The fruits of the cucamelon are excellent to eat right off the tree. You may remove them with a pair of sharp scissors, and the acidic flavor of these Mexican cucumbers will delight you. Chopping up some of the fruits and combining them with sliced olives and peppers may also be used to make a basic cucamelon salad. Season to taste with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Cucamelons may also be used in place of cucumbers in fresh salads to gain benefits from the nutrients. This is useful when preparing any summer salad, since these weird fruits provide a tangy flavor. Why not use chopped cucamelon fruits instead of tomatoes in your own cucamelon salsa? Sprinkle some crumbled feta cheese on top of a pile of chopped cilantro, some chili flakes.
Recipe for cucamelon pickles
Cucamelons are ideal for pickling since they resemble cucumbers. Mouse melons are also known as Mexican sour gherkins for this reason. To preserve your cucamelons for the whole year, follow these steps. You’ll need the following items:
- Your pickles will be stored in this huge sterilized jar.
- Cucamelons (or other vegetables)
- yellow mustard seeds, 1 tablespoon
- 1 tsp chopped fresh dill
- Coriander seeds (1 tablespoon)
- Coarse salt is used in one tablespoon.
- 1 cup to 1¼ cups of apple cider vinegar
- Add ¾ cup of water to the mixture.
This is how to make your cucamelon pickles:
- Add the salt to a pan of boiling apple cider vinegar and water. It is OK to let it cool down.
- Pour the cooled vinegar mixture over the prepared cucamelons and other ingredients in your sterilized pickling jar.
- The cucamelons should be completely covered with liquid. Repeat step 1, this time adding the amount of vinegar and water you need if you want more liquid.
- Let stand for 4 or 5 days with the jar lid tightly closed.
- The cucamelon pickles are now ready to eat.
You can also make different flavored pickled cucamelons by changing the ingredients. You may, for example, make a sweet and sour type of cucamelon pickle by using just apple cider vinegar (about 1 ½ cups) and 4 tablespoons of raw sugar.
Possible Health Benefits of Cucamelon
Cucamelon fruits have a number of alleged health advantages. When it comes to nutritional value, each little fruit from the cucamelon plant packs a punch. The tough skin of cucamelons is a excellent source of fiber, and they are rich in vitamins and minerals.
This superfruit is said to be beneficial for the heart, fend against aging, reduce your stroke risk, and have cancer-fighting properties by some people. Cucamelons, which have many health benefits, are also simple to prepare. Raw cucamelon fruits can be chopped and added to salads. Rather, to enjoy the little green mini-melons later, you may choose to make cucamelon pickles.