Growing cucamelons – are they worth it?

by Mars
cucamelon melothria

Both Kirsten and I enjoy trying new and different foods, so we were really excited when we came across cucumelons at our local garden centre three years ago. For two consecutive years we’ve tried growing them and they’ve really struggled to get going and we’ve never had a successful harvest

Determined not be beaten, we tried again this year, this time growing a variety called Melothria from seed. We planted them out in late spring and really looked after them, ensuring that they had regular doses of Nemaslug because slugs love gorging on this plant. Finally, in late August/early September we had plenty of fruit.

What enticed us to grow these little mini melon fruits is that they’re described as tasting of cucumber with a twist of lime. Delicious, right? A perfect addition to salads and salsa. Not only that, they’re low cal and many nutritionists consider them to be a superfood.

When we tried one in late August, it was very hard and it tasted like it wasn’t ripe yet. So we left them for a few more weeks. From a physical perspective not much changed and they continued to look the same in terms of size, colour and hardness.

, but there was no harm leaving them on the vine to develop a better taste.

So we tried tasting them on a weekly basis into late September, and I’m gutted to say that they are just terrible. The texture is weird, but most disappointingly the taste isn’t great. You get notes of both cucumber and lime, but they’re not complimentary as flavours because the lime isn’t 100% limey, and the cucumber is a washed out aftertaste. It’s just weird.

Thinking that having them “neat” was a bad idea, we tried them in a salad hoping that the lettuce, tomatoes and salad dressing would help integrate their taste profile as part of a meal. This didn’t mask the weird taste, and the texture (which I mentioned was weird) was actually accentuated in the salad and made it even stranger.

So after three years of trying to grow these little guys I’m sad to say that I’m not a fan and we won’t be growing them again, which is a real shame because I really wanted to like them.

If you’ve had a different experience with cucamelons, please drop a comment below. Maybe it was the variety we grew this year that wasn’t great.

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1 year ago

Hi there. I had the same experience. Got so excited when the first tiny fruits started to form, but I also thought they tasted awful! Hard and bitter. I had a bumper crop and gave them all away to a friend who seemed to like them though!

1 year ago

Well, I was always told not to plant cucumbers very close to watermelons because the watermelons would taste bad. Maybe someone thought they were good and that’s where cucamelons come from. 🙂

The Re-Farmer
1 year ago

Our first year gardening, we started some from seed indoors, then transplanted them in a spot that was ready, but not ideal. From what I read, they needed a lot more sun then that spot got. Yet, they did really well. We got quite a few fruit, and we enjoyed them. My daughter even did a quick refrigerator pickle with them, and we liked that, too. I found their skins/rinds had a hint of bitterness, which I normally don’t like, but it was very mild. We found them a nice, crunchy snack. They were not hard at all. Perhaps it’s the difference in variety?

Our second year gardening, we planted them in a “better” spot, but that year we got hit with drought and heat waves, though I think it was a lack of pollinators that year that was the biggest problem. The plants did well enough, with lots of flowers, but almost no fruit. That year, we had a late killing frost in the spring that left us without any crabapples, saskatoons or chokecherries, and I think it killed off a lot of emerging pollinators, too.

When putting the garden to bed at the end of the year, I tried over wintering tubers in a pot for this year, but we didn’t bother trying to grow them from seed again. The tubers didn’t survive our winter. We do want to grow them again in the future, but we have a lot of work to do to set up our permanent garden beds, so that might wait a couple of years.

Last edited 1 year ago by The Re-Farmer
Lesley Smith
Lesley Smith
1 year ago

I was given a small plant last year and it grew well. I loved the cucamelons, very good in Gin and Tonic. This year I tried to grow from seed which I bought. They take ages to get going and I transplanted them too soon. I had to try the seed I’d kept from last year. You are supposed to ferment the seed before saving it. I had both and the unfermented seed grew! I gave some away and they grew like vines. I kept 3 and they grew really well and tasted fine. I’ve cut mine back and trying to keep until next year as they are supposed to overwinter.

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