Judging by the emails and photos we’ve been receiving our customers have clearly had some fun growing cucamelons this year and are now well and truly reaping the harvest.
Looking like minature watermelons cucamelons are also known as “mouse melons”. Their refreshing cucumber mixed with lime flavour will have seen them popped into many a cocktail over the glorious summer we’ve expereinced but what to do with them now? Certainly they don’t seem to know when to stop fruiting and deliver a constant stream of cute little mouse melons.
Cucamelons are ready to harvest when firm and about the size of a grape. Carefully remove them from the vine and put them in the fridge where they’ll be fine for up to about 10 days.
James Wong’s inspiring book – Homegrown Revolution – has plenty of suggestions as to how to enjoy your Cucamelon harvest. They can be eaten in the same way as a standard cucumber, sliced, chopped or left whole and added to a salad. Cucamelons can be added to salsas, served as a nibble amongst a dish of olives or simply just enjoyed straight from the vine.
For those of us with a bumber harvest how about taking James Wong’s advise and pickling some cucamelon so that they can be a taste of summer on a cold winter’s day?
Pickled cucamelon with dill & mint
You will need:
250g cucamelons – washed and drained
375ml white wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp dill – chopped
1 tbsp mint – chopped
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 fresh oak or grapevine leaf
Pour the vinegar into a bowl with the salt and sugar and whisk until they’ve dissolved. Stir in the herbs.
Pop the cucumbers into a sterilised 500ml jar. Scrunch up the leaf and place it on top of the cucamelons. The tanins in the leaf will help to keep the cucamelons crisp.
Pour the vinegar into the jar, seal tightly and place in the fridge. Your pickled cucamelons will be ready after 2-weeks.
If you live in a mild area your cucamelons may well survive the winter to give you another harvest next year. Simply apply a good mulch of thick straw as protection. Alternatively lift a swollen radish-like root and store over winter in compost in a frost free place.
Cucamelons also are great as a sharing food, mix with olives and some peppers, don’t they look great?