Have you heard about the Mexican sour gherkin cucumber? No? Maybe you've heard of one of this summer's trendiest fruits, the cucamelon? They're one in the same. The small cucumber-like fruits that are shaped like tiny watermelons are having their day in the social media sun, and the adorable edible is ending up in salads, getting pickled and making its way onto cocktail skewers as a garnish.
Although they look like baby watermelons, they taste like cucumbers with a little citrus — some people say lemon, some say lime — and they don't have to be peeled. You can pop them in your mouth whole or slice them up. My mind is veering toward the gin and tonic right now. I'd like to puree them, run the puree through a sieve, and use the juice to create a twist on the classic.
These little cuties also go by the name mouse melon, and with all the attention they're getting this summer, I suspect many gardeners are thinking about adding them to next summer's bed.
Are cucamelons worth growing?
Like cucumbers and watermelons, the Mexican sour gherkin cucumber grows on a vine. Vines can be invasive and take over a garden. However, because the fruit of these vines is so small, it's easy to train the vine to grow up some sort of trellis. The added bonus is that the little cucamelons won't be too heavy for the trellis.
According to Rare Seeds, the plant produces huge yields, too, so it may be something gardeners want to consider if they have the right growing conditions. After reading through the comments from gardeners on Rare Seeds, here are a few things to consider:
- Definitely trellis them or they will take over the garden. (Even if you plant them in a container, use a trellis.)
- They grow quickly, so keep an eye on them daily to take care of any offshoots that evade the trellis.
- They grow great in hanging baskets, too.
- They will grow in partial shade, but seem to need full sun to get the highest yields.
- They don't succumb as easily to the mildew that many cucumber plants do.
- They're fairly drought-tolerant.
- They seem to grow in all regions.
- They continue to produce into the fall.
- Kids love them. That fact was mentioned many times by gardeners. Kids will pick them off the vine and pop them in their mouths happily.