Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Week 11 - Mouse Melons!

For week 11 members can expect to receive tomatoes (mainly cherries, the slicers in the hoophouse are petering out), zucchini and/or summer squash, eggplants/peppers/tomatillos, potatoes, onions, garlic, parsley, cucumbers, and chard or kale.

So, if you've been paying attention you've probably figured this out already, but I really like to grow vegetables that are new to me. I love finding something I've never heard of in a seed catalog, getting a pack of seed in the mail, and experimenting. I love it even more when the experiment goes well. 

Mexican Sour Gherkins AKA Mouse Melons. I'm kinda thinking that everything
should be called Mouse Melon.
One of this season's successful experiments is the Mexican Sour Gherkin. They look like tiny watermelons and taste like lemony cucumbers, though they are neither watermelons nor cucumbers (or lemons for that matter). They are in the same family as melons and cukes, but they're their own thing. And, even though they have Mexican in their name, they seem to like it in the U.P.

They are producing quite well for us, the quantity we've harvested from our little test patch is pretty impressive. We weren't expecting to have enough to include in shares this year.

Also, they're delightful. Seda loves them. I told her they were baby cucumbers and she sang a lullaby to every one she picked until she realized she could eat them. At that point they started leaving the bucket faster than I could put them in it and her energies had to be...redirected. Potato harvest with Dad went much better. 

We are considering the Mexican sour gherkins to be cucumbers for the purpose of the shares and some members will probably receive regular old cucumbers this week rather than the little guys. They should keep going until frost though, so hopefully we will be able to give everyone a taste of them.

Mid-season is ruled by garden standards like zucchini, tomatoes, and potatoes (and thankfully so), so it's nice to be able to add something unusual to the shares this time of year. However, members might be wondering what to do with them. There isn't a ton per share, so they may get munched before finding their way to a recipe, but if you want to get creative try the following quick pickle.

Summer Refrigerator Pickle

This recipe can be changed to fit the vegetables you have. If you don't have Mexican Sour Gherkins substitute half of a salad cucumber or one pickling cucumber, diced like the zucchini. Or leave out cucumbers altogether and just use more zucchini.
  • 1 mounded cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 large handful Mexican Sour Gherkins (about 25)
  • 1 small zucchini or summer squashed, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 clove garlic (or more to taste), minced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole mustard seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Approximately 3/4 cup white wine vinegar
  1. Slice the cherry tomatoes and Mexican sour gherkins in half.
  2. Combine all of the vegetables, sugar, salt, mustard seed, and pepper in a one quart non reactive bowl. Stir very well.
  3. Let sit for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables have released a lot of liquid.
  4. Add the vinegar and stir well. 3/4 cup was the perfect amount for me, but use however much vinegar you need to just barely cover your vegetables. Adjust the seasonings as needed.
  5. Refrigerate the pickles for at least a half hour before eating them. 

Summer Refrigerator Pickles, ready to go into the fridge.


  1. These are the cutest things I have seen in a long time.

  2. These are way too cute to be a vegetable. I just added them to our garden list. Thanks!!

  3. such cute little melons, I've never seen before!! I like that you used them for pickles, good choice :)

  4. I planted some of these little guys and they never came up :( Lucky you, they're so precious!

  5. They look a lot like the watermelons that I grew on my windowsill one winter. The plants were from standard watermelon seeds. They were in little 4-inch flowerpots (because there wasn't room for pots any bigger), and the vines were draped over a curtain rod. When they bloomed, I pollinated them with a q-tip, and made little string hammocks for the melons when they formed.

    I ended up getting a bunch of little dwarfed melons, each about the size of a ping-pong ball. They were perfect inside, with a rind about an eighth of an inch thick, tasty pink flesh, and two or three perfectly-formed seeds.

    These mouse melons would probably be easier, though.

  6. Tim - those sound awesome. Who knew it would be that easy to miniaturize a watermelon? The mouse melons are even tinier than a ping pong though and, unfortunately, taste more like cucumbers than melons.

  7. We planted these for the first time this year. The vines are beautiful,but the cucumbers are only less than pea sized and not striped. Any suggestions?

    1. Mine took much longer than I expected to get to this size, though they were striped the whole time. The seeds aren't sold under named varieties, but my guess is there actually are different varieties. You probably have a different variety than what I grew. I hope they size up for you!

  8. Curious, did you start them indoors and transfer and sart outside with them? ?After Memorial Day outside? -Fellow Michigander

  9. you wouldn't believe where i got my cucumber seeds from i got mine from when i was eating a sweet-yellow-apple and i saved the yellow apple seeds apple seeds,

    the seeds are brownish black and thats what i planted and i waited for about a month or 2 for it to grow up outside
    and when it did i noticed that it was not a apple tree the only other plants i usually plant are tomato's potato's,

    hot- red-peppers green-bell-peppers and pumpkins and straw berries i never have had or even bought any cucumber-seeds but thats what grew on the plant from the apple seed i planted and i was disappointed, that it wasn't a tree because my dad said i could plant some apple trees in the yard so i did and now i have a baggie full of cucumber seeds and there seed color is creamy white,

    so then i saved all of the cucumber seeds even know i don't like cucumbers and i haven't grew any of them for about 3 years now but this year i did i grew 1 cucumber plant and was wondering what would the baby cucumber taste like so i cut it off and ate it and it just tasted sweet like a watermelon would so now i'll start growing them thanks to 1 apple seed.

  10. it may sound fake strange or whatever you want to call it but my cucumbers came from a yellow-apple and thats true

  11. Hi,
    Am Giannis Doskaris, from Poros isl., Greece.
    Αμ αν Αgriculturist, and I want to cultivate mouse mellon. I need at least 2000 seeds and I want to know what is the harvest per plant (in kilos).