Originally from South America, cucamelons look a little like miniature melons but their taste is a combination of cucumber and lime. Known in Mexico as ‘Sandiitas de Raton’, or ‘Little Mouse Watermelons’, cucamelons are part of the same family as cucumbers, squashes, courgettes and pumpkins. Its official name is Melothria scabra and actually belongs to a genus of flowering vines.
I was given some seedlings from a neighbour and nurtured them in the greenhouse for a month or two before planting out - maybe in May, I can't remember.
[Thankfully] cucamelons are easy to grow, this vine tolerates drought, tends to be ignored by pests and, most importantly, produces masses of grape-sized fruit throughout the summer.
The flowers, at only about four millimetres and are flat with five splayed petals and of a bright, buttery yellow. The plant is monoecious which means that the flowers (on the same plant) are either male or female and therefore pollinate amongst themselves.
The cucamelon fruit displays pale green bands or dapples on a mid-green ground and is about the shape and size of a large purple grape but can be up to four centimetres long (though it should be picked young).