First things first, what are cucamelons? They are fruits that look like a cross between the cucumber and watermelon. However, they are in no way related to the watermelon.
I’d be the first to admit that the first time I saw cucamelons I was intrigued. Cucamelons have been grown in Central America for several centuries now, so they are not new to the market.
If you have never interacted with cucamelon before, you are probably wondering what they taste like. Well, this article is for you.
We will discuss everything you need to know about cucamelons including the appearance, taste, nutrition, uses, where to buy them, how to grow them, how to store them and so much. This article has everything you need to know about cucamelons. Without wasting any more time, let us dive right in.
The shape of cucamelon is similar to that of an elongated egg. In times of size, they are small, just like grapes are. The skin of cucamelon is a combination of dark and light green. Cucamelons generally look like tiny watermelons or a tiny version of a kiwano.
The skin of cucamelon is thicker compared to that of a cucumber. When fresh, it has a firm and crunchy bite. The fruit also has juicy flesh that is somewhat translucent with a soft texture.
When you bite into cucamelon, you’ll realize that it has seeds. The seeds are edible, so there is no need to discard them. Cucmaelons have a fresh, pleasant aroma.
Cucamelons have a mildly sweet flavor with a sour undertone. They also have citrus acidity. A lot of people liken the cucamelon flavor to that of cucumbers splashed with lime juice.
The flavor of cucamelon develops as the fruit matures. The mild sourness that you experience when the fruit is fresh becomes more noticeable when the product is older.
Therefore, I suggest that you go for the early season fruit if you want to eat them out of hand. The sourness will be more bearable.
Are they nutritious?
Cucamelons may be small in size but they are very nutritious. They contain fiber, essential minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins. Additionally, they have high water content and are low in calories.
Where to buy them
Cucamelons can be a little bit difficult to find, especially in supermarkets. Your best bet is to shop for them at farmers’ markets when they are in season. You can also buy cucamelons in specialty stores or high-end supermarkets.
Choosing the best cucamelon
Always go for the firm cucamelons that do not have any blemishes. Stay away from soft or yellow cucamelons.
From my personal experience, the ones that are the size of a medium table grape always taste better.
If you like growing your own produce and you live in a warm climate, you are in luck. Cucamelons thrive in a warm climate.
They also grow very fast. Within 3 months of planting the seeds, you can start enjoying your homegrown cucamelons. Cucamelons do not take up a lot of space in the garden, but they will need some kind of support for the vines to grow on.
If you are wondering what the culinary uses for cucamelon are, you are in luck because I’m here to share all the information you need to know.
You’ll be shocked to know that cucamelon is commonly used for savory purposes despite it being a fruit. Here are a few culinary uses of cucamelon.
- Eat them out of hand
The simplest way to enjoy cucamelon is eating them out of hand. Simply rinse them under running water and eat them. There is absolutely no need to peel cucamelon.
- Add to salads
You can toss some cucamelon into your fresh garden salad for a refreshing taste.
- Garnish sangria or gin
You can use a slice of cucamelon to garnish sangria or gin.
- Cook them in a stir fry
My stir fry always tastes better when I toss in some cucamelon.
- Pickle for later use
Pickled cucamelon is quite flavorful. The best part about it is that the process is simple and straightforward.
- Add them to your sandwich, burger, or wrap
Simply slice your cucamelons and add them to your sandwich, burger, or wrap. It will taste amazing.
- Make spicy salsa with some chikoo.
How to store cucamelon
Thanks to how robust they are, cucamelons don’t bruise easily. They should be stored at room temperature. Store your cucamelons in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. They will stay fresh for up to two weeks.
If you want them to last longer, you can store them inside your refrigerator. Place them in the vegetable crisper.
It is notable that as cucamelons age, they lose their crunchy texture. The flavor may still be the same but the texture will be completely different.
I don’t enjoy eating them out of hand at this stage, but I don’t discard them either. I simply slice them up and place them in a jug of lemonade or water for a refreshing beverage.
Fast facts about cucamelon
- Cucamelon has several other alternative names including; mouse melon, Mexican sour gherkin, pepquinos, Mexican sour cucumber, and Mexican sour. In Spain, it is called little watermelon or sandiita.
- Cucamelons are not a mixture of cucumber and watermelon as the name implies. Their scientific name is Melothria scabra and they belong to the cucumber family.
- When cucamelons are left on the vine for too long, they turn bitter and their texture becomes unpleasantly soggy.
- To grow cucamelon, you have to saw the seed indoors from April to May and only plant it outdoors when all risk of frost is over. Cucamelon vines usually need support.
- The origin of Cucamelon can be traced back to Mexico and Central America.
Cucamelons may not be very popular, but they will definitely catch your eye when you see them at the supermarket. Their flavor is more like a combination of cucumber and lemon. This makes them sourer compared to regular cucumbers.
My kids really love cucamelons. Their small size makes them ideal for both school and office lunches. We all love a nutritious snack, right?
The fact that cucamelons look like tiny watermelons makes them a great addition to salads, especially if you want your salad to look a little bit different. They can also be added in mocktails and cocktails for a fresh burst of acidic flavor.
If you haven’t tried cucamelons before, you are missing out. Buy them the next time you spot them and let me know if you like them.