Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumber
Melothria scabra is a species of cucurbitaceous vine (cucumber) grown for its edible fruit. The fruit are about the size of grapes and taste like cucumbers, but have a natural sour aftertaste that comes from the skin. Other names include mouse melon, Mexican sour gherkin, cucamelon, Mexican miniature watermelon and Mexican sour cucumber.
This plant is a native of the southern part of North America, where it is called "Sandita" It is thought to have been a domesticated crop. It is found in Mexico, and in most of the US.
It can only be reproduced by seeds, and possibly by root cuttings. It has been a staple of Mexican and Central American diets since pre-Columbian times, hence its great array of names in indigenous languages. These people also use the melon in nonculinary ways, including in medicine, yet little of this information can be found in mainstream literature.
Mexican Sour cucumbers are terrific in stir-fries; they can be pickled just like French baby gherkins, eaten raw in salads or pickled. They also can be chopped and added to salsas for extra texture and flavor. They are a great snack to just pop in your mouth and enjoy the sour after taste.
In an effort to popularize the variety, several seed companies have coined new names, including “cucamelon,” “Mexican sour gherkin,” “cuka-nut” and, in France, “concombre à confire” (preserving cucumber) or “sandia de raton” (mouse melon in Spanish).
Seeds are available through Territorial Seeds.
They are so cute like little watermelons and the skin is smooth. The plant is a tiny vine with tendrils that grab on to all the grass around them and the leaves are the size of a golf ball.