(65 days) Open-pollinated. Also known as Cucamelon or Sandía de ratón (‘Mouse Watermelon’ in Spanish), and Preserving Cucumber in France. Native to Mexico and Central America and a staple in diets there since pre-Columbian times. We love the unusual, so when we saw these darlings on exhibit at Common Ground Fair in 2004, we found them irresistible. The great late Janet Winslow calls them a “gateway” crop, meaning they inspire fairgoers to explore the diversity of available food crops.
Wimpy seedlings grow into rampant yet delicate scrambling vines covered with dozens of 1" green and white fruit that look like miniature watermelons but taste more like cucumbers, with a crunchy texture and a slight sour zing as if they were already pickled. Botanically neither cucumber nor watermelon and won’t cross with either. They don’t bruise and they keep for a long time.
After staffer Emily Skrobis discovered these, she vowed never to grow cucumbers again: “SO snackable! I grow only a few plants each year but have enough to make a couple pints each of curry-kins, dilly-kins and smoked-paprikins refrigerator pickles.” Also popular among trendy bartenders. Slightly more cold-tolerant than cukes, and more drought-resistant. 10' vines benefit from a fence or trellis. About 350 seeds/g. ②