Ponzu-Marinated Watermelon Cucumber Recipe

by valentina on September 14, 2013

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The first time I laid eyes on these Watermelon Cucumbers from Melissa’s Produce, I thought they were teeny-tiny watermelons.  (Go figure.)  At first glance they’re super cute — and when you take a closer look, maybe even slice one in half, they’re truly exquisite.  A more vibrant green inside than other cucumber varieties, and a wide range of green hues blended into soft stripes on the outside.

In season in August and September, Watermelon Cucumbers are not a genetically-modified hybrid — they’re a central American delicacy that has been eaten in Mexico for centuries.   Sometimes called Cucamelons or Mexican Gherkins, they’re subtly lemony, a bit sweet, and have a fantastic crunch.  You get all of this in one bite, as they are about the size of small to medium grape.

You can order Watermelon Cucumbers from Melissa’s Produce, here.

These beautiful cuties are an excellent snack, a superb crunch in a salad, divine pickled in a jar — and perfect marinated in Ponzu!  (Ponzu is a Japanese citrus based sauce or marinade — it’s deliciously sweet, sour, salty, and bitter all at once.)

Ponzu-Marinated Watermelon Cucumber Recipe

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Active Work Time: 10 minutes

Yield: Serves 2 as an appetizer


1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon Mirin (sweet rice wine)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

6-ounces Watermelon Cucumbers

Pinch of dry chile flakes

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the lime juice, soy sauce, vinegar, Mirin and salt.
  2. Slice the Watermelon Cumbers in half, lengthwise, and add them to the bowl.
  3. Mix the cucumbers to be sure they are all well coated, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let them marinate for at least 30 minutes, and up to an hour.
  4. Sprinkle with chile flakes when you're ready to serve.

This is not a sponsored post.  Melissa’s Produce sent me Watermelon Cucumbers for recipe testing – all opinions are my own.  I only promote, create recipes with, and write about products I love.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

sippitysup September 14, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Get out. I totally think those are tiny watermelons. GREG


valentina September 19, 2013 at 8:51 am

you crack me up Greg! :-D


Cathy @ She Paused 4 Thought September 15, 2013 at 12:47 am

I bought some of those at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market and didn’t know what to do with them, so I just ate them raw on a salad. Next time I see them I will try your recipe. :)


valentina September 19, 2013 at 8:52 am

Hope you enjoy! :-)


Jennifer September 15, 2013 at 6:24 pm

I’ve never heard of them before. They’re so cute! And I bet, like you said, they’d make exquisite pickles. I want them!


valentina September 19, 2013 at 8:52 am

If you pickle them, let me know how you like them. Enjoy! :-)


Irina @ wandercrush September 16, 2013 at 3:27 am

These are so beautiful! I’ve never even seen such cucumbers before. Ah and I love a good Asian pickle recipe… perhaps my cukes will not be so exotic, but this recipe will definitely be going in my repertoire.


valentina September 19, 2013 at 8:53 am

Thanks so much, Irina. :-)


Deb September 16, 2013 at 6:50 pm

We’re still screaming summer sunshine here with lots of fantastic ripe cucumbers that are in need of a refreshing recipe. Thank you for sharing this recipe that is just bursting with bright flavor!


valentina September 19, 2013 at 8:54 am

Thank you Deb, for your sunny, bright comments. :-)


Ash-foodfashionparty September 17, 2013 at 5:27 am

You have no idea how happy I am to see this on your blog. I love love watermelon cucumbers, this is a completely new recipe to me. We make a dry spicy side out of this vegetable and it is a tedious job to chop em’ up, but I never get tired of chopping my favorite vegetable. Thanks for sharing.


valentina September 19, 2013 at 8:55 am

Let me know if you post your spicy side of the cucumbers — I bet it’s amazingly delicious! :-)


Coco in the Kitchen September 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Ponzu is great. Pour some on my shoe and I’d eat it!

These are the cutest li’l things!
I’ve gotta get my hands on some, V.


valentina September 19, 2013 at 8:55 am

Colette – you are too funny. Don’t eat shoes! ;-) I bet your little one would love these.


Chef Louise "Geez Louise! Mellor September 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm

With all I have going on I haven’t even looked at mine… So cute!


valentina September 19, 2013 at 8:56 am

I could just look at them, they’re so adorable. ;-)


David September 22, 2013 at 8:21 pm

What a refreshing salad or appetizer this would make! They are cute, but they are also tasty!


valentina September 24, 2013 at 3:08 am

Yes, so cute & tasty!


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