Love and Olive Oil
Cucamelon Pickles (Quick Refrigerator Version)

Cucamelon Pickles (Quick Refrigerator Version)

Cucamelons are adorable little fruits that taste like a cucumber and look like a tiny watermelon. This quick refrigerator pickle recipe treats them more like the later: with a hint of ginger, allspice and star anise that makes for a truly unique pickle.

Handmade ceramic dish overflowing with tiny cucamelons.

I stumbled upon these cucamelons a few weeks ago at the farmers market, and they were simply too cute to pass up.

Cucamelons, also called mouse melons (OMG) or Mexican sour gherkins, are tiny, cucumber-like fruits native to Mexico and central America. With a thick outer skin with a watermelon-like appearance, it’s obvious where they get their name (I also think they look a bit like dinosaur eggs).

The flavor is tart, like a sour, lemony cucumber. The skins are thicker than your typical cucumbers, more snappy not unlike a watermelon.

I bought a quart of them, without the faintest idea of what I was going to do with them, but pickles seemed like an obvious choice.

Pouring the cider vinegar-based brine into a jar packed with cucamelons.

Considering they have characteristics of both cucumbers and melons, I figured I could go one of two ways:

Treat the cucamelons like cucumbers and pickle them with garlic and dill.


Treat them like melons and pickle them in a more aromatic blend of spices like you’d use for pickled watermelon rind.

In this case, I chose the later (but if you prefer the cucumber direction, my spicy garlic dill pickle brine will work equally well for cucamelons).

The aromatic mix of spices, with a hint of heat and gingery spice makes for a unique flavor experience. Chances are, you’ve never tasted a pickle quite like this one. And their tiny shape means you’ll find yourself popping more than a few in your mouth, one after the other.

Jar full of cucamelon pickles, ready to be refrigerated.

Like any refrigerator pickle recipe, give these guys at least 24 hours to fully infuse with the vinegar brine. As they pickle, the skins will soften and the spices will infuse the flesh of the cucamelons with a delightful tangy spice.

They will keep about 2 weeks in the refrigerator (note that I have not tested this recipe for waterbath canning; if you want to make pickles for long-term storage, I recommend seeking out a pickle recipe from a trusted source like National Center for Home Food Preservation or Ball Canning — any solid cucumber pickle recipe should work just fine with cucamelons too!

Cucamelon Pickles

Cucamelon Pickles

This recipe makes one 8oz/half-pint jar full of pickles; feel free to scale up the brine depending on how many jar-fulls of cucuamelons you have.
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  • 4 ounces / 115 g cucamelons
  • cup / 80 g cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon / 12 g granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 allspice berries
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 pod star anise
  • 2 1-inch strips fresh ginger, use a vegetable peeler to take off a strip


  • Rinse cucamelons and cut off the blossom ends. You can half them if desired, but it's not necessary. Pack into a washed and sterilized half-pint canning jar along with pepper flakes, allspice berries, peppercorns, anise and ginger.
  • In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt and bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Pour over cucamelons in jars, filling the jar to within 1/4-inch of the top (if necessary you can top it off with a bit more water). Secure lids and place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.
  • Pickles will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
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  1. I have these in my garden and they are just about ready to harvest. Do they really only last 2 weeks in the fridge? Many refrigerator pickles last way longer. 

    • I always err on the safe side, but many recipes do say they’ll last longer than that. After a while the texture does start to degrade though, so even if it’s not a safety issue I think you’re best eating them up sooner rather than later. :)

  2. I grew these for the first time this year. I didn’t think they were going to take because they were taking so long (longer than regular cucumbers) but in late July they exploded and I have been picking almost every day since and it’s now Sept and they are still coming. They are great for snacks or in salads but now I want to try pickling. This recipe looks interesting so going to give it a try. Wish me luck.

  3. I decided to grow these next year. I ordered my seeds and will certainly post photos of my results. I’ll try to pickle them a bunch of ways. Jars of these might make great gifts for my martini and Bloody Mary drinking friends. I bet they will make unique cocktail toppers! 

  4. After filling do you put the lids on and right into fridge hot? Thanks!

    • You can let it cool down a little bit so you’re not steaming up your fridge with a hot jar, but it should be refrigerated within an hour or so.

  5. Do you pour the water vinegar brine hot, warm or cooled-down completely? Getting ready to make these but i’m not quite sure. T

  6. Just secured the lid…… to wait 🥴

  7. these are the cutest little things. i don’t think we have them here:) how gorgeous, and the pickles sounds like a fab idea. cheers sherry

  8. Thanks for sharing, what farmer’s market did you go? If you dont mind sharing. Ive been looking for this little fruit for a while.

    • This was at the Richland park farmers’ market. Although last weekend the same vendor didn’t have them, so guessing they have a short season :(

  9. We grow these and I absolutely love them! They are gorgeous in the garden too. I’ve always thought about pickling them but I can’t stop popping them in my mouth long enough to make that happen. I eat so many in the garden, only a few handfuls make it home on any given day LOL!

    I’m glad your recipe is for only one jar – that will make it much easier for me to try since I won’t need that many.

  10. These are so cute. I still have not found any place close to my house that sells anything ‘exotic’ or different from the usual. Keep on trying and I am going further out to see what is available. Your picture are stunning.

  11. thought I’d known about a lot of exotic ingredients, but not these, wow and an interesting brine too, must work well on the thick skins, than you

  12. I was just in Central America and never came across these! They’re so cute. Do you really think they’d pickle as well if you leave them whole? Cause they’re just so cute whole!

  13. These are so intriguing! I want to see if my grocery store has them!


  14. Those look adorable, and I can just imagine them sitting all pretty on the shelf in my pantry! I think I will try the garlic and dill pickle brine. Now to see if I can locate any of these cute little dudes!!
    I’m off to the farmers market and anywhere else I think might have these. Lol

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