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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