Achocha

The South American achocha plant has small, cucumber-like fruits that have a fresh flavour, a cross between a minty cucumber and a green pepper. The young fruits are delicious raw - added to salads or juiced. When mature, the fruits are known as the “stuffing cucumber,” as they become hollow, with the seeds forming around a central placenta like green peppers.

How to grow
Sow seeds into pots under glass or on the windowsill in April/May and set them out when all danger of frost has passed. Or grow under glass. Warmth (rather than heat) and humidity are what achochas like best. It is reputed to be more cold tolerant than cucumber, enjoying a long summer, but will still be cut down by frost. Needs supporting, preferably with netting, as it has tendrils that can grip.

How to eat
Can be eaten raw or stir-fried when young.  Add to salads and coleslaws. When mature they have tougher skins so stuff with meat, fish or cheese, and then bake. Can also be pickled or used as a base for chutney.

For a full list of multicultural vegetables see here. They all come from our innovative Sowing New Seeds and Growing From Your Roots projects, when Garden Organic worked with allotment holders of Indian, South American, East Asian, Afro Caribbean and African extraction.