Melothria scabra, commonly known as Mexican sour gherkin or (more adorably) mouse melon has arrived for the first time at the nursery! This warm-season fruit is native to Mexico and Central America where it is served as a delicacy and called
sandiita, which means "little watermelon." An ancient edible, cucamelons were grown as a domesticated crop by the Aztecs in pre-Colombian times.
The grape-sized fruits are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber and taste like a tangy cucumber (often described as cucumber and lime flavor). The skin is edible so they can be eaten peel and all, which makes cucamelons a convenient snack even right off the vine. Garnishing salads, entrees or cocktails with mouse melons is a guaranteed conversation-starter and they can also be used in salsas or pickled.
Cucamelons grow best in full sun (they need at least 4 hours of direct sun each day, or more) with well-drained soil and regular water. They are hardier and more compact than other cucumbers, growing 3 to 5 feet with a vining habit that requires support, and are relatively pest resistant. Cucamelons can be grown in the ground or in large containers. The oh-so-cute fruit is produced shortly after the small yellow flowers fade and can be harvested when grape-sized and firm.
There's simply no reason not to grow this easy and unusual edible in your garden this summer!