Cucamelon recipes are a treat! Also known as Mexican Sour Gherkins, Mexican Miniature Watermelons, and Watermelon Cucumbers -- they're delicious marinated in Ponzu sauce with a bit of heat. A perfect refreshing, light and flavorful side or snack.
The first time I laid eyes on these Cucamelons, I thought they were teeny-tiny watermelons. It's no wonder some refer to them as Mexican Miniature Watermelons.
At first glance they're super cute -- and when you take a closer look, maybe even slice one in half, they're truly exquisite.
What are Cucamelons?
- As I mentioned, they're also referred to as Mexican Sour Gherkins, Mexican Miniature Watermelons and Watermelon Cucumbers.
- More or less the size of grapes, they're in season in August and September, and are a considered a delicacy in central America and Mexico, where they are native.
- Even though it sounds like it, these cute fruits are not a hybrid of a watermelon and a cucumber. They are a fruit that grows on a vine called Melothria Scabra, and have been around for centuries.
- A more vibrant green inside than other cucumber varieties, and a wide range of green hues blended into soft stripes on the outside.
- Cucamelon recipes are quite healthy because these babies (pun intended) are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. And of course, they are low in calories, too.
What do Cucamelons/Mexican Sour Gherkins taste like?
Despite the name, they are only a tiny bit sour -- subtly lemony. They're also a bit sweet, and have a fantastic crunch. More than anything though, they taste like a cucumber.
Where to buy them?
During their season (August and September) your best bet is at your local Farmers Markets, and maybe in the specialty section of the produce department.
You can also order cucamelon seeds from a variety of places including here.
These beautiful cuties make for an excellent snack, a superb crunch in a salad, divine pickled in a jar -- and perfect marinated in Ponzu!
Here's another cucamelon recipe you might enjoy. In this one they're actually fried!
What is Ponzu sauce?
- Ponzu sauce is a Japanese citrus based sauce or marinade -- it's deliciously sweet, sour, salty, and bitter all at once.
- The ingredients in Ponzu sauce are typically: a citrus called Yuzu, rice wine vinegar, bonito flakes, and seaweed. (I used a few of these and lime juice instead of the Yuzu.)
- You can use the ingredients in my recipe to make the Yuzu sauce, or you can purchase a prepared one.
- If lime isn't your favorite, you can use lemon instead.
- I like this best after about 30 minutes of marinating time -- however, it will still be delicious even the next day.
Ponzu-Marinated Cucamelon Recipe
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Mirin (sweet rice wine)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces Cucamelons
- pinch dry chili flakes
- To make the Ponzu, in a small mixing bowl, combine the lime juice, soy sauce, vinegar, Mirin and salt. Set aside.
- Slice the Cucamelons in half, lengthwise, and add them to the bowl. Mix them to be sure they're all well coated, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let them marinate for at least 30 minutes, and up to an hour.
- Sprinkle with chili flakes when you're ready to serve.
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Get out. I totally think those are tiny watermelons. GREG
you crack me up Greg! 😀
Cathy @ She Paused 4 Thought
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. 🙂
Hope you enjoy! 🙂
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!
If you pickle them, let me know how you like them. Enjoy! 🙂
Irina @ wandercrush
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.
Thanks so much, Irina. 🙂
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!
Thank you Deb, for your sunny, bright comments. 🙂
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.
Let me know if you post your spicy side of the cucumbers -- I bet it's amazingly delicious! 🙂
Coco in the Kitchen
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.
Colette - you are too funny. Don't eat shoes! 😉 I bet your little one would love these.
I could just look at them, they're so adorable. 😉
What a refreshing salad or appetizer this would make! They are cute, but they are also tasty!
Yes, so cute & tasty!
Love so much when something new pops out ! I will definitely have to look at the stands more carefully..... who knows, maybe I'll be surprised to find some over here. Also, thank you for the ideas how to prepare these babies, once found !
I hope you find them where you are! Thank you. 🙂 ~Valentina
Kelly | Foodtasia
Valentina, these little cucumelons are so cute! They sound amazing and I can't wait to try them. I'll have to look for them at the market. Love how you marinated them in ponzu!
Thanks, Kelly! They are indeed cute. 🙂 ~Valentina
Dawn - Girl Heart Food
I've never seen cucamelons around here before, nor have I tried them, but would love to! I do enjoy those little mini gherkins so I bet I'd love this too! Nice touch with the chili flakes - love a little heat 🙂 Have a wonderful week!
Thanks, Dawn. Maybe they'll show up over there one day. Hope you have a wonderful week, too! 🙂 ~Valentina
David @ Spiced
Well I learned something today! I've never heard of cucamelons, but now I really want to try 'em! What a fun flavor combination, and these would be great for a summer party. Love this recipe, my friend!
Yes, awesome for a party! Thanks, David. Have a great week. ~Valentina
These are adorable and sound so good! I hope I can find them locally!
Me too!! 🙂 Thanks!
Well, if so many Americans have never heard of these beauties methinks you'll believe I have never sighted them Down Under. However having been born in Northern Europe which does not know how to eat without small pickled cucumbers on the table methinks I'll happily try what Ponzu dressing, which is a firm favourite, will add to the tiny cucumbers I can access here . . . thanks !
Thank you, Eha. Tiny cucumbers will be delicious. Yes, these cuties do not show up everywhere. It seems a lot of people grow them in their yards, and I'm hoping to do just that next summer. 🙂 Enjoy.
Look forward to trying this recipe...... I have them growing in my garden (prolifically) and usually pickle them .
Would Also like to try cooking them if anyone has any ideas
Hi Robyn, thanks for writing in. So fantastic you're growing these! I would love to have them in my yard. I think they'd be delicious in a salsa. Maybe a fruit salsa with watermelon or strawberries -- or tomato, red onion, and cilantro. (You can replace the regular cucumbers with them in this recipe.) Enjoy! 🙂 ~Valentina
David Scott Allen
Even after all the years since you originally posted this, I have still yet to see these in any store in Tucson! I’m so bummed, because these look wonderful!
Hmmmmm? I'm going to see if Melissa's Produces distributes them to any stores out your way. I'll let you know.
Well, unfortunately Melissa's Produce doesn't have them this year -- they say the best place to look it at the local Farmers Markets. Here's hoping! And if you're so inclined . . . . you can get the seeds here. 😀
I’m growing cucamelons in my garden for the first time, this year, and this sounds delicious! I’m excited to try this once I’ve got a harvest!
Thanks for your note, Missy. I hope you love the recipe! :-)~Valentina
I'm growing cucamelons in my garden this year and on my second harvest I have enough to fill a pint jar. I did pickle some last week and they were definitely tasty. How long does your recipe keep for?
Hi Rebecca, thanks for writing in. 🙂 This will last about 7 to 10 days very well in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container. So great you're growing them at home! Enjoy and thanks for checking out my recipes. ~Valentina