The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Mexican Sour Gherkin

Mexican sour gherkinOne of the new vegetable varieties we're trying out this year is the Mexican Sour Gherkin (Melothria scabria).  It's billed as a tiny cucumber that is resistant to the wilts that tend to kill normal cucumbers on our farm, and I can attest to the species being much less disease-ridden.

On the other hand, I don't think they really taste like cucumbers --- the gherkins are more sour and lack that cucumber tang.  Another disadvantage is that Mexican Sour Gherkins get off to a slow start...but maybe that's an advantage since in our garden they started bearing at about the same time our cucumbers gave up the ghost.

Mexican Sour Gherkins are certainly cute, and they are tasty even if they don't really taste like cucumbers.  It's also pretty cool to be growing a vegetable variety which seems to have been cultivated unchanged since before Europeans showed up in North America.  While they're not a new superhero of the garden, I think we'll keep growing gherkins.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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From what you say about your little cucumbers, I wonder if they are supposed to be used for pickles? That might account for the lack of cucumber flavor.
Comment by Sheila Wed Sep 9 21:12:55 2009
Good point! Various article's I've read have suggested that you pickle them, eat them fresh, or even stir fry with them. Too bad we don't like pickles! That probably would be the best use for them.
Comment by anna Thu Sep 10 15:55:06 2009

Mexican Sour Gherkin...I read your posts and find my little "watermelon" looking pickles to have a real nice cucumber flavor, with just a hint of the sour burst. Maybe it depends on the soil and nutrients where they grow?

The vines are the most beautiful, dainty dark green ivy-like vines in the garden. I will grow these again for sure.

I am going to pick the last of the harvest, which came on just as my other pickles were slowing down. Longer grow time, at least in cooler WA State. I thought I might try pickling them and see what happens...I can't wait to see how cute they look in the jar.

Comment by Cherie Fri Oct 9 00:41:16 2009
Interesting point! Maybe I need to feed them more next year, or try them in a different part of the garden!
Comment by anna Fri Oct 9 08:53:16 2009
Where do you suppose I can order some of these to try? Not sure how they'll like it up here in the great white north, but I'd like to try!
Comment by Niki Mon Aug 29 18:19:49 2011
We got our seeds from Renee's Select Seeds, I believe. They are slower starting than other cucumbers, so if your growing season is terribly short, they might not make it. But in our long growing season, we actually pulled them out two thirds of the way through the summer since they were past their prime and probably would have had a chance to replant if we wanted.
Comment by anna Tue Aug 30 07:53:27 2011

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