16 September 2011, by gj
A relative of cucumbers and melons, this interesting veggie is just as easy to grow.
It’s sensitive to transplanting, so be careful if you choose to start indoors, about a month or so before the frosts have ended.
You can direct seed in early summer, covering the seeds a bit and watering.
It produces a much larger flower than cucumbers, so it’s quite striking growing up a trellis.
Picked at about 8″ long or so, there are only very tiny seeds.
Be sure to scrub the little hairs off before eating with the skin; or you can just peel it.
That would have been too easy, I had to go for it.
It smells like a cucumber when cut, has the consistency of a zucchini, but the flavor is very mild.
I used some of my first harvest for a delicious stir fry, and plan on trying a soup this weekend.
This same veggie goes by many names, such as Winter Melon and Wax Gourd-
Wikipedia has a niece piece on it here.
I just love the sound of Winter Melon Soup!
Botanical name: Benincasa hispida
Yield: one plant per seed, many fruit per plant.
Spacing: 2″, trellis
Storage: I’m sure it can be dehydrated, but I’m new to this veggie too. I’ve read that a fully grown plant can be kept in cool storage, but doesn’t taste nearly as good.