They’re popping up at Holoholo and we’re working on growing enough to share some with our CSA customers soon.
They grow on vines, just like both cucumbers and melons, and grow to be about the size of a cherry tomato. They’re native to Mexico and Central America where, according to Mother Earth News, they’ve been part of the local diet there since before Western contact.
On the outside, they look just like miniature watermelons, but they’re actually cousins to cucumbers—so despite the name, they really taste more like cukes than melons. In fact, they’re often called “Mexican gherkins,” and, as that name implies, they make great pickles! Even unpickled, they already have a bit of a sour flavor from the skin, so they add not just crunch, but a bit of a tangy bite to a salad.
Other creative uses for mouse melons:
- Chop and add to salsas or gazpacho for a unique flavor
- Substitute them wherever you might use cucumbers, like in Chef Emily’s Greek Barley Salad
- Try stir-frying them (search for recipes like this one that call for gherkins or Indian Ivy Gourd—they’re similar)
- Use them as a garnish in your cocktails (think Bloody Marys or martinis)
Here’s a simple recipe for Holoholo Mouse Melon Salad, the way we like to eat them:
Mix together olive oil, rice vinegar and sugar, to taste. Add mouse melons, chopped dill, radishes, sea asparagus and salt. Toss & enjoy!