In the Absence of Heirloom Tomatoes, an Unusual Seasonal Show Stopper

September 12, 2011 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment

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© Photos by Margarida Correia.  See captions at bottom of post. 

Though bad weather destroyed most of their heirloom tomatoes, Eckerton Hill Farm still drew significant crowds to its stand at the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturday.  The Pennsylvania-based farm had plenty of hot peppers — its second most popular crop — to compensate for the missing tomatoes, and an unusual seasonal show stopper:  the jelly melon cucumber.

The oval-shaped cucumbers with protruding horn-like spines caught everyone’s attention.

“What,” most people asked, “IS that?”

Farm owner Jill Stark joked about wanting to put fake bulging eyes on the curious, unknown member of the cucumber and melon family.

“You slice them real thin,” she advised customers, adding that all parts of the fruit — the flesh, seeds and skin — are edible.

I tried a slice.  It was slightly more gelatinous than a cucumber and had a citrusy flavor — a very nice addition, I thought, to a sandwich.

Not everyone was unfamiliar with the jelly melon cucumber, which is known in the southeastern United States as blowfish fruit.  One woman packed a least a half dozen into a bag.

The wonder fruit, which was going for $2.50 a pound, is high in vitamin C and fiber, and will be in season for a couple more weeks, said Stark.

Why not give it a try?

Captions for photos above:

Photo 1:  Jelly melon cucumbers – also known as blowfish fruit in the southeastern United States – was going for $2.50 a pound at the Union Square Greenmarket.

Photo 2: A cross-section of the jelly melon cucumber. 



Entry filed under: Farmers Market, Freaky Fruit, Local Food Production. Tags: , , , , .

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