Cucamelons are not related to watermelons, but they suspiciously look like a cross between watermelons and cucumbers. Even the name “cucamelon” is a combination of cucumber and watermelon. Cucamelons are not the result of some lab experiments, they are just one of those coincidences that nature has in store for us.
What do cucamelons taste like? Cucamelons are mildly sweet, their taste is accompanied by that citrusy feel that a lemon or lime has. Cucamelons taste like cucumbers that have been splashed with lime juice. They also have a mildly sour taste that makes them a great addition to a fresh summer cocktail.
If you are not a fan of watermelons because they are too big, cucamelons are like miniature watermelons that you can pop into your mouth and eat at will. They don’t taste anything like watermelon, but they have a refreshingly enjoyable taste. Cucamelons come with a lot of health benefits, let’s take a quick look and see how adding them to our diet could be a great choice.
Nutritional Benefits of Cucamelons
In many circles, cucamelons are acknowledged as superfruits. The one function that it is well known for is that; it is good for the heart. Cucamelons have a useful antioxidant that helps to promote the proper functioning of the heart.
These superfruits can protect against aging, reduce the risk of stroke, and even provide anti-cancer properties. Cucamelons help to reduce the aging process by revitalizing the cells and tissues in the body. The revitalization process also extends to organs in the body.
Cucamelons play host to powerful antioxidants that help to relieve oxidative stress and protect cells in the body from damage by free radicals. Just like cucumber, cucamelons have a good store of dietary fiber that can help promote metabolism by improving digestion and reducing constipation. The dietary Cucamelons might be able to offer some protection against colon cancer due to their ability to help expel toxic compounds from the digestive tract.
Cucamelons have a good store of vitamin C and potassium, Vitamin C is great for boosting the immune system, this increases the body’s chances of keeping everyday illnesses away. Potassium can help regulate blood pressure and lower the levels of cholesterol in the body. LDL cholesterol is the bad kind of cholesterol that could lead to cardiovascular complications.
Cucamelons do a good job of eliminating it from the body. These superfruits have also been found to be of benefit to the eyes and every respective internal organ. Cucamelons are special because there are a lot of health benefits that can be gleaned from them.
Culinary Uses of Cucamelons
One of the obvious choices when eating cucamelons is to just pop them into your mouth. You must have washed them to get all the dust and grit away. But, there are other ways you can enjoy cucamelons. They do not have to be eaten just as they are. The best kind of cucamelons you would enjoy raw are the young, tender fruits. The older fruits are best kept for pickling. They can be used as the perfect substitute for pickling cukes (cucumber).
Aside from being eaten raw and pickled, cucamelons can be added into salsa or integrated into drinks so that you can blend their flavor with that of the drink. Cucamelons serve as a great healthy manner of garnishing different beverages at a party or in a bar. If you like playing around with cocktails, cucamelons should join the list of fruits you want to experiment with.
If you are not a fan of beverages, cucamelons can be soaked in water, to give you cucamelon-flavored water. It serves as a healthy alternative to sugary drinks and sodas that can adversely affect the body.
Cucamelons can be eaten like grapes out of a bag, they could be the perfect fruit in your picnic basket on a sunny day. These melons can also be dabbed with olive oil and enjoyed with any drink of your choice. They can be popped into martinis, or served with pretzels and chips.
You can even serve them as part of a green side-dish to raw steak, or throw them into stir-fry dishes to bring a contrast in taste and texture and a bump in nutritional content. Cucamelons can be roasted and served with olive oil.
Where are Cucamelons Grown? How to Procure Them?
It takes cucamelons 65 to 75 days to fully grow, they also need warm weather and soil temperature that ranges from 75F to 85F. Cucamelons are native to a region that spans from Mexico to Venezuela. Their size can be compared to grapes and they taste like cucumbers tinged with sourness.
The binomial name of cucamelon is Melothria. The word is derived from a word in the ancient Greek language melothron which means “kind of white grape”.
The English adaptation for Melothria is cucamelon, and it wasn’t called that till the 1980s. It goes by other names like “little watermelon” and in the Spanish language it is known as sandita which translates into “little watermelon”.
In supermarkets, cucamelons might be difficult to find. But if you visit farmers’ markets when they are in season, you might be able to find some. In high-end supermarkets or specialty stores, you might spot them.
Are Cucamelons Invasive?
The vines that bear cucamelons are invasive. If you have decided to grow them in your garden, or a pot indoors because of the cold climate, you would need to use a trellis so you can control the growth.
Facts You Don’t Know About Cucamelons
- The scientific name for cucamelon is Melothria scabra.
- Cucamelon goes by different names like Mexican sour gherkin, Mexican miniature watermelon, Mexican sour cucumber, mouse melon, or pepquinos.
- Before the western colonization of the Americas began, cucamelons were already a big part of their diet.