The Mexican Sour Gherkin is gaining great popularity at farmers’ markets. Here they are nestled with cherry tomatoes, so you can get an idea of their size. They are also known as mouse watermelons, cucamelons and sandiita (Spanish for little watermelon). They are called mouse watermelons because they actually look like a watermelon on the outside ( but not on the inside) and they are the perfect size for a mouse! I have even heard them called Barbie watermelons. The Latin name is Melothria Scabra and they are native to Mexico and Central America. For a fun and delicious experiment I recommend that you try these. There is a link to buy seeds later in this post.
How Did I Discover the Mexican Sour Gherkin?
We were having lunch with a friend who said:
“You must try these Mouse Watermelons in your garden. They also go by the name of the Mexican Sour Gherkin. My aunt saw them at a farmer’s market in New York selling for $20 a pound. So she got some seeds and sent them to me and asked me to grow them. They are so prolific and so cute and so delicious. My niece calls them cucumber jelly beans!”
Growing and Eating Mouse Watermelons!
I thought they sounded so interesting so I also got some seeds and planted them. My first batch did not make it. I think they didn’t have enough water to get started. They do have a slow start but once they take off they produce lots of fruits. The second batch of seeds did very well and we had Mexican Sour Gherkins until the first frost. Once they are established they are drought and pest resistant.
You can buy these Mexican Sour Gherkin seeds from Amazon. Use them in salads, sauteed vegetables dishes and pickle them. I used them in a red quinoa salad and they added a lot to the beauty and taste of the salad. They have a mild cucumber/lemon taste with a refreshing crunch. The kids in the neighborhood love them!
A Trellis of Mexican Sour Gherkins
I only planted a few seeds and we thoroughly enjoyed them. Then I visited a Demonstration Garden put together by Master Gardeners. They had a whole trellis full of these mouse watermelons. They were hanging over my head and I could just pluck them from their vine and pop them into my mouth. There were so many of them it was a sheer delight to look up and see them hanging in their beauty. Their trellis was made of bamboo from their master bamboo creator. I am thinking of getting an archway trellis for my garden this year. Maybe a nice gift to myself! Maybe something like this so they can grow over the top. To learn more check out this Mother Earth News article.