Cucamelons, also known as, ‘mini watermelons,’ ‘mouse melons’ and ‘Mexican sour gherkins,’ have been gaining recognition of late because of their cute look and delightful taste.

However, they are much more than an adorable, tasty fruit. Due to their high nutritional content, cucamelons are considered a superfood. You won’t have much luck finding these micro-fruits in grocery stores, but the good news is that you can plant your own. Here are some of the main reasons you should grow cucamelons.

Cucamelons – What Are They?

Cucamelons are a member of the cucumber family. They resemble tiny watermelons but with the crunch of a cucumber. The fruit has a sour, tangy flavor, and they are extremely juicy.

Cucamelons are no bigger than 1.25 inches in length and 0.8 inches wide. They can be eaten raw, added to salsas or salads, and pickled. The fruit works well with fresh herbs like parsley and basil, leafy greens, sweet peppers, and cherry tomatoes. If you are looking for a less acidic flavor in your salsa, use cucamelons instead of tomatoes.

They Are Full of Healthy NutrientsCucamelon

As mentioned, they are considered a superfood because of their high nutritional content. Some of the vitamins and minerals found in cucamelons include:

  • Beta-carotene
  • Lycopene
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

They contain 15 calories per cucamelon and are the perfect addition to a low-calorie diet.

They Have Got Many Health BenefitsCucamelon

The antioxidant lycopene gives tomatoes, pink grapes, and watermelons their red-pink color. It keeps the body safe from oxidative stress, and studies suggest that lycopene has brain-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties.

A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science found that there is a strong relationship between death from Alzheimer’s disease and low levels of lycopene. Additionally, research also suggests that lycopene lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and has a positive effect on cancer cells.

The carotenoid beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that converts into vitamin A when it enters the bloodstream. It plays an important role in skin health, eye health, and neurological function.

Cucamelon is high in soluble fibre. It fills you up quickly and helps you remain full for longer. For those struggling to lose weight, a full stomach will prevent you from eating unhealthy snacks throughout the day. Also, studies have found that consuming this type of fiber reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and neutralizes free radicals. It also helps to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation in the body. Several studies have found that vitamin C protects the body against pathogens, and reduces the length and frequency of respiratory infections.

They Are More Durable Than CucumbersCucamelon

Cucumbers are sensitive to cold and wet conditions. To grow properly, they need warm air and soil.

Wilting occurs after it rains, and in some cases, the entire vine will collapse and die. This is not the case for cucamelons, the plant continues producing fruit in cool weather, and during the rainy season.

They Are Pest and Disease Resistant

One of the major benefits associated with growing cucamelons is they are pest and disease-resistant. All cucurbits get infected by the powdery mildew caused by fungus. This mildew weakens the plant and slows down the growth process.

However, this disease does not affect cucamelons, making them easier to grow than cucumbers and other members of the circuit family. Furthermore, cucamelons are not affected by pests such as rodents, squash borers, or beetles.

They Are Drought Resistant

The tuberous root on the cucamelon has an efficient water-storing system. The tuber gets larger as the plant ages, meaning they have the ability to survive dry and drought-filled conditions.

They Are Self PollinatingCucamelon

Cucamelons possess both female and male reproductive organs which means that they are self-pollinating. Self-pollination is a reproductive process where the pollen from a plant fertilizes the ovules within the same plant. There are several benefits associated with self-pollination, such as:

  • Consistent Fruit Production: Self-pollination ensures consistent and reliable fruit production because the plant is able to reproduce without relying on external pollinators. This is especially beneficial in areas with limited or inconsistent pollinator availability.
  • Increased Seed Set: In comparison to cross-pollinated plants, self-pollination produces a higher seed set. This improves the reproduction process, especially during bad conditions when pollen transfer gets difficult.
  • Genetic Purity: Due to the fact that the pollen comes from the same plant, the offspring of self-pollinated plants remain pure. This is beneficial when it comes to preserving desirable traits in crops because there are no genetic variations from other plants.
  • Energy Conservation: Self-pollination helps plants conserve energy because they don’t need to do any work to produce large amounts of pollen or to attract pollinators. Energy conservation is beneficial when the plant is growing in conditions where there are limited resources. This allows the plant to use its energy for other essential functions.

They Do Not Cross-Pollinate

You can easily save cucamelon seeds because they do not cross-pollinate with any other plants. This is because cucamelon is a part of the genus Melothria making it unable to cross-pollinate with other members of the same family. Therefore, you can plant cucumbers and cucamelons next to each other, and cucamelons will still produce true seeds.

Side Effects and Risks

As you’ve read, cucamelons are extremely healthy. However, as with all foods, there are potential risks and side effects associated with eating them.

Symptoms of an allergy after eating cucamelons include, difficulty breathing, throat tightness, or a rash. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately and refrain from eating them in the future.

The unique attributes of these miniature wonders makes growing cucamelons an exciting and rewarding experience.

Cucamelons are the perfect fruit to grow on your homestead due to the nutritional richness they provide, coupled with their culinary versatility. Additionally, they don’t take long to grow, within 65-75 days you will be harvesting a delightful batch of cucamelons.

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