Cute Little Cucamelons
Having been given James Wong's Home Grown Revolution book for Christmas last year, I decided I would get stuck in and try growing some more unusual plants this year. The cucamelon looks like a melon in miniature (its about the size of a large grape) but has a cucumber taste with a hint of lime. It is a pretty little plant - grows as a vine, with yellow flowers before the fruits appear. Although originating form Central America (known in Mexico as Sanditas de Raton - which means "little mouse watermelons"), it has been easy to grow here on the South coast of England - although I have to admit, it has been a hot and sunny summer so that must have helped.
Once the plant starts flowering, there is a constant stream of fruit. They can be eaten in the same way as cucumbers, although they have more "bite" and are quite tangy - they are great sliced into salads, they can also be chopped and added to salsas and they are also suitable for pickling.
Because these little gems are so beautiful to look at, they look really good on cocktail sticks, decorating summer drinks - especially a lime-based Mojito or a Martini.