What do you do with a Cucamelon?

@owlwings (44024)
Cambridge, England
October 12, 2021 6:06am CST
What, in heaven's name is a Cucamelon, I hear you ask! A cucamelon is a small Mexican fruit, about the size of a grape, which is a relative of the cucumber or gherkin (and less closely related to melons). It looks just like a miniature watermelon but it tastes like a cucumber with a hint of acidity, as if you had added a drop of lime juice to it. In fact, another name for it is 'Mexican Sour Gherkin'. I grew one plant of it this year as a curiosity and it has thrived! It has scrambled everywhere and produced masses of tiny, bright yellow flowers and about a kilo of fruit, so far. I have pickled many of them, using a dill pickle recipe, as for gherkins, and i have used them raw in tomato and onion salad but my latest experiment has been to make soup. With a glance at a recipe for cucumber soup, which I found online, I weighed my latest cucamelon harvest (250 grams), and added about a quarter of the weight of potatoes (2 very small ones at 70g!) and an onion, chopped. I sauteed the roughly chopped veggies for about 10 minutes to soften the onion and then added 750ml of vegetable stock, salt and pepper and simmered for 20 minutes before blitzing with a stick blender. The result is an attractive green soup which I shall garnish with a swirl of creme fraiche (I think that yogurt would be too acid) and, perhaps, a sprig of mint. I think you could serve this hot or cold, but I shall serve it hot, since it's cooling off these days! Have you tried any unusual fruit of vegetable this year? if so what did you do with them?
11 people like this
13 responses
@Fleura (24171)
• United Kingdom
12 Oct 21
I have grown cucamelons the last three years. This year I didn't get too many fruit so that was good. I rather like growing them but you can have too much of a good thing. Last year we had absolutely hundreds! I fed them to any willing visiting children, put them in salads, pickled them (still have some of those), added them to stir-fries... they are something of a 'flavour of the month' among foodies at the moment but then when you look for suggestions as to how to use them it mainly seems to be 'add them to a cocktail' - I'd have a serious drink problem if I did that with all the ones I had last year. Here's a picture of some of mine, with a kiwi fruit added for size comparison.
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@MALUSE (69966)
• Germany
12 Oct 21
They must be tiny. The kiwi looks like a pumpkin in comparison.
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@owlwings (44024)
• Cambridge, England
12 Oct 21
I can recommend the soup. Most recipes are for cold cucumber soup (not cooked) but as this is a cooked recipe, it can be frozen (before adding the cream).
2 people like this
@owlwings (44024)
• Cambridge, England
12 Oct 21
@MALUSE They're about the size of a grape.
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@MALUSE (69966)
• Germany
12 Oct 21
Pity that you haven't added a photo.
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@owlwings (44024)
• Cambridge, England
12 Oct 21
I shall do so, just as soon as I can get one downloaded! Meanwhile, @Fleura has added an image.
2 people like this
• United States
26 Oct 21
I don't know if I've had cucamelons or not. We used to belong to a CSA that included some uncommon vegetables in its shares, but I don't remember if that was ever one of them.
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@LadyDuck (426312)
• Switzerland
13 Oct 21
I grew the cucamelon fruits in our garden some years ago. The fruits were pretty, but I cannot say that I was impressed by the taste. As you say, it is like cucumber with a hint of acidity. I let the birds feast on them and I never planted again. I tried "prickly pears" for the first time this year, I expected a more interesting taste, it is bland. I made a jam.
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@owlwings (44024)
• Cambridge, England
13 Oct 21
Surely, prickly pears don't grow in Switzerland! I see recently that someone is growing mangos in the South of France and I already know that Iceland is the largest banana producer in Europe. I think I did try a prickly pear once. I don't remember that it was anything remarkable.
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@LadyDuck (426312)
• Switzerland
13 Oct 21
@owlwings When I was young and still lived in Italy, I used to see the prickly pears for sale, I know they mainly came from Sicily, but my Mother never wanted to buy. I have not even checked from where are coming those I bought. The taste is not worth buying them.
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@RasmaSandra (61388)
• Daytona Beach, Florida
16 Oct 21
Sounds interesting, I have not had any odd fruit or vegetables lately,
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@Sojourn (13838)
• India
12 Oct 21
Interesting fruit. As if like a cross breed between melons and cucumbers and some strange genetic mutations (dwarfism) has led to its origin.
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@owlwings (44024)
• Cambridge, England
12 Oct 21
Although it looks like a cross between a melon and a cucumber, they are entirely different species. As you probably know, melons and gourds (which include cucumbers and marrows) developed in the Old World - Asia and Europe - while pumpkins, squashes and so on belong to the New World (the Americas). Cucamelons taste nothing like melons. They are quite similar, though, to cucumbers, though, as I say, with a little sharpness. Apparently they have been used for food in the North of South America for at least 4000 years (and probably a lot longer than that). I wish that I could find some traditional recipes in which they were used but it's likely that they were just added to whatever stew or soup happened to be cooking at the time!
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@m_audrey6788 (58377)
• Germany
12 Oct 21
No. I have not tried any unusual fruit or vegetable. I only eat those fruit or vegetables familiar to me
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@BarBaraPrz (40181)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
12 Oct 21
I planted some yellow bell peppers this year, but by the time they turn yellow, they've started to rot. So I pick them when they're still green, and mostly pass them on to neighbors. I'm not that fond of the green ones, that's why I chose yellow. Guess they were mislabelled.
@allknowing (110758)
• India
13 Oct 21
We do not have vegetables that are rare around here but could be rare to you like hog plums, bilimbis, etc. Gherkins grow in my garden that look similar to or even taste like cucamelon. We have several gherkin dishes.
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@RebeccasFarm (84004)
• Wheat Ridge, Colorado
12 Oct 21
I have not tried any unusual ones this year Owl. The soup you made sounds very good. I had never heard of that cucamelon.
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@LeaPea2417 (35574)
• Toccoa, Georgia
18 Nov 21
That's amazing, I never knew it existed.
@TheHorse (170107)
• Walnut Creek, California
20 Mar
I have not. But I will accept any soup you send me.
@Dena91 (17910)
• United States
12 Oct 21
I have heard of these before but haven't ever had any. Glad you did well with yours.
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