Two cucurbits on a plate

Some kind of cucumber and Trieste White courgette

Some kind of cucumber and Trieste White courgette

Not as in “walks in to a pub, one says to the other…” (although if you can come up with a good joke about cucurbits I will personally send you a Curly Wurly). Just two of these fruits who pretend to be vegetables that we ate tonight (actually they’re in a bowl).  We had been musing about joining in one of the local horticultural shows this year and the phrase “5 (insert number and type of vegetable of your choice, madam), on a plate” just makes me laugh for some reason.

We’re not joining in the horticultural shows after all – we’re certainly not overwhelmed with produce and there’s no way the goodwill and sense of participation will make up for leaving any of our hard-won crops in a warm tent to be eyed by critical judges and an uncaring populace who will never understand them (too involved?). However, some things have picked up in the garden this year, even though sadly we’ve got no further with finding somewhere else to get growing. We’ve had a couple of handfuls of strawberries, a few carrots, a promising bed of garlic, a few shallots and onions, plenty of new potatoes, and now a few courgettes and our first cucumber in at least 2 years. The tomatoes are looking uncertain (they’re curiously unwilling to set further fruits) but perhaps there will be more successes to come this year.

There is a Cousin Cucurbit in the garden; which had it fruited in time I would have loved to contribute to a local show, and that is achocha. I picked up the seeds at the local seed swap only because they had attached to them a label from a research student who was making a study of seed swaps and wanted to know what became of her seeds. Not sure if she’s still studying but I plan to drop her a line – and progress so far is promising, as tonight I realised the first embryo (?) fruits are visible. Pushed for space as usual we’re growing 3 plants (as slug insurance) in a big tub with a wigwam for support. Reports from people who’ve grown them before are varied, but it will be interesting to see and it would be nice to at least say we’ve tasted one and know if they’d merit a bit more space another year.  Here are a few pictures – the tiny fruit side on, the flower from the top, and the plants in their container. Advice, warnings, and other comments welcome!

Achocha baby fruit

Achocha baby fruit

Achocha flower

Achocha flower

Achocha plants in a tub

Achocha plants in a tub


3 thoughts on “Two cucurbits on a plate

  1. Emma Cooper says:

    Ooh, you’re back, with your archives, and you’ve brought achocha along to the party! How exciting 🙂 Fat Baby, if I’m not mistaken. Try eating the young fruits raw (they can be whole); when they’re older, hard seeds form inside and you have to take those out and then the fruits are nicer cooked. People tend to use them as green pepper substitutes, or pickle them like gherkins. Or throw them in a curry! I shall be offering more achocha insights later in the year, as they’re one of the two plants on which I undertook my MSc research 😀

    • Esculent Etc says:

      Thank you! And yes – your sharp eyes have indeed spotted Fat Baby. It’s one of those things that from the descriptions I’d always thought I wouldn’t put myself out to try; anything with the phrase “may be used as a [not always wholly enticing in the first place] substitute” tends to make me wonder *why*. But this year the seed swap organisers put a little tray out with this student’s seeds and her message about her research, and I thought at least if I don’t like the plant I can give someone some useful information! However I take your advice more seriously and I’m looking forward to the harvest now (famous last words…). And I like the plants itself, which doesn’t seem to be too much of a prima donna, so it has much going for it – I look forward to hearing your achocha anecdotes later 🙂

  2. Daiva says:

    Thank you for sharing photos. I was wondering, if my achochas are are starting to bloom since I saw many little bumps starting to form, and looking at your photos confirms it to me. Looking forward to trying them. 🙂

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