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Meet a trendy, designer vegetable — the cucamelon

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

how to grow cucamelon

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  • Cute, crunchy cucamelons have characteristics very like both watermelons and cucumbers, but they’re neither; the Melothria scabra, from Mexico and South America, are no larger than a grape
  • Also called mouse melon, Mexican sour gherkins or sandita, cucamelons have a tangy flavor, rather like a cucumber doused in lime juice, or a citrusy, savory fruit
  • The perfect “traveling fruit,” cucamelons can be tossed into kids’ lunch boxes or taken to family get-togethers as a delicious snack. They’re also great pickled or added to salads for a tasty crunch
  • Cucamelons can be expensive to buy, but can be grown easily and inexpensively by starting them indoors before the last frost or sown directly in your garden when the soil becomes warm
  • Soon after flowers appear on the vines, you can start looking for fully ripe cucamelons, which are so small a dozen can fit in a man’s hand. Save the more tender cucamelons for eating and the firmer fruits for pickling

You may have seen large and small varieties of watermelons at your local supermarket, featuring not only deep coral-colored fruit, but varying hues of orange, yellow and white, with rinds having the typical wavy green stripes, or oddly, solid colors like light or dark green, orange, black or even gray.

Even more eye-catching, watermelons appear to come in much smaller sizes, although there's a special type that might make you wonder if it's a combination of fruit and vegetable in one, a variety known as a cucamelon, with the botanical name Melothria scabra, originally grown in Mexico and South America.

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