Wandering through the vegetable garden sometimes make me anxious.  There is always so much to do and remember.  Prune the tomatoes, check the tomatoes to see if they are ripe, pick the ripe tomatoes, find something to do with the excess tomatoes, find someone to give the extra tomatoes to.   I think you get my drift.  This year the harvest is coming on strong.  Although a bit slower because of our cool start, now is the time I worry about how things are starting to get ripe, if they will make it before the cool weather starts, keeping things watered without splitting or molding.   One of my worries however, is not the Cucamelons.

Apparently this is the new ‘hot’ exciting vegetable.   The little sour Mexican Gherkin (Cucamelon) is first of all cute, then easy to grow, and finally fun to experiment with.  Last year I only got about 5 on my vines.   This year I have many!  I think the key was giving them something to climb.   One of my favorite cookbook authors, Kristy Gardner from SheEats.com has a great recipe for Cucamelon Bruschetta.  You should seriously click HERE to get the full recipe it’s worth it.

After this fun experiment I started another.   This one is not so quickly gratifying as it will take two weeks before I know the result.  This is my first cold pickled vegetable and I must say it looks pretty good in the jars.  Hopefully will taste great too.  A brilliant way to make these crisp summer fruit last well into the depths of winter, home pickling is far easier than you would ever think!

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups white vinegar – distilled malt or white wine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp raw sugar
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1tsp coriander seeds
  • 9 oz fresh cucamelons
  • 1 fresh grape leaf or oak leaf

Instructions

Pour the vinegar into a bowl and add salt and sugar, then whisk until they have completely dissolved. Stir in the dill, mint and coriander seeds.

Wash the cucamelons in water and pour into a sterilized jar. (Run the jars through the dishwasher and dry in a warm oven set to its lowest temperature.)

Scrunch up the grape or oak leaf and place it on top of the cucamelons. The tannins in the leaf will slowly disperse outwards and help keep the fruit crisp.

Pour the seasoned vinegar into the jar and seal tightly.

Refrigerate for 2 weeks. The cucamelons will be pickled and ready to eat. Once opened, store in the refrigerator. They will keep up to 3 months, but most likely won’t last nearly that long! Yields about 1 quart.

First picking the cucamelons…    I picked the largest and somewhat faded.  The taste test was interesting with a sharp, lime overtone on a cucumber base.  Crunchy too.  As you can see the vines are a little crazy and unruly.  But that is ok too.  They are very cute just like the fruit.
Then I rambled around my garden and grabbed some mint and dill.   Then rambled to my neighbor for grape leaves.  What a weird thing to have in a pickling recipe, but in it goes.  Enlisting the help from my son here just today from Boston we packed the jars, dumped the brine, crushed the grape leaf, and put the caps on.   They will sit in the refrigerator for 2 weeks to pickle then they can stay in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
It is too late to try this vegetable this year but put it on your seed order for next year.   There are several good recipes on line to try. They are available from Botanical Interest Seeds.

Days to Emerge:
7 – 21 Days

Seed Depth:
1/4″

Seed Spacing:
3 seeds per mound

Mound Spacing:
4′

Thinning:
Not required

Melon Cucamelon Mouse Melon HEIRLOOM Seeds

Melothria scabra

Item #0285

90 days. Cute, grape-sized fruits look like tiny watermelons but have a cucumber flavor, often with a hint of tartness. Also called sandita or Mexican sour gherkin because the fruits turn more sour as they mature. Long vines up to 10′ produce plenty of “watermelons” to harvest from summer to fall. Plants don’t seem to be affected by insects that typically cause problems with cucumbers and melons. A terrific container or hanging basket variety!

This packet sows 10 mounds.

When to sow outside: 1 to 2 weeks after average last frost, and when soil temperature is at least 65°F.

When to start inside: 4 to 6 weeks before average last frost.

Harvesting: Pick fruits when about the size of a grape or under 1″ long for best flavor. As fruits mature, sourness increases.

(information from www.botanicalinterests.com)