Posted by: scootrah | October 2, 2013

Tasty little Mouse Melons

There’s not a lot of food that I think the word “adorable” describes, but Mouse Melons definitely fit the bill. These tiny light-green fruits with darker mottling look like watermelons for Barbie doll. About 1″ x 1/2 ” or the size of a grape, the flesh is white, crisp, crunchy with a slight lemony tartness. The flavor is closer to a cucumber than a melon, and they’re delicious. Native to Central and south America, the tiny fruit is often referred to as Mexican gherkins. A great low-calorie snack, they give you the crunch of pretzels or chips, but you can keep popping them in your mouth without the guilt!

Whether you refer to them by their botanical name Melothria scabra, Mouse Melons, or Mexican gherkins, they're delicious!

Whether you refer to them by their botanical name Melothria scabra, Mouse Melons, or Mexican gherkins, they’re delicious!

My friend Mark recently handed me a container full from his garden and said “I bet you can come up with something to do with these.” Well, they were so good I’d eaten half of them before I started thinking about how to use them. I have to admit these really stumped me – I wanted to see if I could do something other than just add them to a salad or salsa, but all I kept coming back to was making them into pickles.

I used my “Quick and Easy Pickled Carrots and Green Beans” brine for them. The carrots and beans are tough enough to handle the hot brine poured straight from the sauce pan without becoming mushy, but I thought the little melons might not stand up to the heat, so I allowed it to cool for a couple minutes first. I let them stand for a few hours before I tried them, and while I’d like to tell you this was a hit, I really preferred the taste of the melons fresh. Not that I think pickling them is a bad idea, it just didn’t do anything to enhance the flavor, and after a few days they weren’t as crisp as I’d expect a pickle to be.

You should still be able to find these at farmer’s markets and produce stands and you really should try them. But my vote would be to keep them as they are. I’m still thinking about what I might add them to, maybe a stir fry or in place of regular cucumbers in a Greek vegetable or cold orzo salad. Let me know what you come up with, and happy munching!

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