Unusual ingredients - The Cucamelon
If you've read my shopping blog you will already know about the funny little fruit I found at my Farmers Market this weekend.
It was a Cucamelon. I had never seen these before. They look like a teeny tiny olive sized watermelon, but they proclaimed on the label to taste of cucumber.
I was intrigued so I grabbed a punnet to try. Bit of a gamble at £3 a pop but when I got to the till the lovely young man made them half price, without me even asking. Happy days.
So when I got home I did what I always do when presented with something new and shiny I don't understand. I googled it.
Turns out that this funky little edible oddity is not some new manufactured hybrid, or a clever gardeners cross breed. Nope, it's a central American delicacy that is particularly popular in Mexico and is also known as mouse melon. It has been scoffed for as long as people have been able to tell us what was and wasn't poisonous to nibble on .
Apart from looking so amazing, they have a great taste actually. I popped one in my mouth and was surprised by the burst of citrus flavour I got - kinda like lime, which moved on into a more familiar cucumber-y taste.
I think they would taste great in a salsa. They would lend all your favourite recipes some zing and crunch. I reckon that scooped up with a nacho should be their natural habitat. I'm looking forward to giving it a go.
Meanwhile on Google I found a few hints for them. Folks say they are great pickled or even speared like an olive in a Martini.
I also found a recipe for Cucamelon bruschetta using birds eye chilli, honey, lime juice, sweet onions, cider vinegar and mint. I might try that one with my next punnet but for my first time cooking with them I made this chicken salad of my own invention, which has its roots in an Italian panzanella.
I didn't find anywhere selling the fruit easily online but apparently it is astonishingly easy to grow from seed and will do so in almost any climate anywhere. So I say get some seeds and bung 'em in a pot and give it a go. I think kids would absolutely love to grow these cute little things they could eat right from the stem. The seeds are readily available at many garden places including Fothergills and Sutton’s.