How to Save Cucamelon Seeds

How to Save Cucuamelon Seeds

This year I had great success growing cucamelons. They are tiny cucumbers with a taste of a hint of lime. I like them just popped into the mouth as a quick snack. I recently read that they can be stir fried but I  haven’t tried it yet.

How to Save Cucamelons Seeds

As you can see each cucamelon  has a lot of seeds inside. Being the seedaholic I am I had to learn how to save these seeds.  Like tomatoes and cucumbers this seed is easiest saved by fermenting it first. It  removes the gelatinous substance that coats the seeds. Once this is removed the seeds will germinate faster for you.

How to Save Cucamelon Seeds

This week I wanted to collect as much seed as I could. The plants are finished growing for the season so it’s the last of the fruit. I cut the cucamelon in half and squeezed the seeds out with my fingers. I tried a spoon once but the melons are too small. A narrow baby spoon might work. Use a spoon to scrape the seeds down the sides of the jar as they tend to stick. I placed the seeds into a clean half pint mason jar.

How to Save Cucamelon Seeds

This is what it will look like in the jar. This is about four ripe cucamelons. Here you can see the gelatinous substance around the seeds. This protects the seeds and inhibits germination.

How to Save Cucamelons Seeds

The next step is to add about an inch of water. As I add the water I try to rinse any seeds still on the sides of the jar down to the bottom. There are always one or two trying to escape.

How to Save Cucamelon Seeds

The last step is to grab a piece of parchment paper that will fit on your jar. Parchment paper will allow air to get in the jar but hold back any smell while it ferments. Write the name of the plant which in this case is cucamelon and the date. Screw a jar ring on the jar and place the jar in a cool dry area. I have mine tucked away under a cupboard but they get some light in the kitchen.
How to Save Cucamelon Seeds

If you look at the jar the seeds will sink to the bottom. Leave the jar for about five days until you see mold forming on the surface of the water. I found this to be the magic number of days for my home but temperature and light may make your timing different. I did find that rinsing the seeds too early left me with seeds that were sticky still. The next step is to remove the ring and label. Add some water to the jar and let the seeds settle to the bottom again.

How to Save Cucamelon Seeds

Carefully drain the water out a bit being careful not to lose the seeds. Add a bit more water a few times and drain each time. Eventually any floating flesh or mold will be removed and your seeds will be clean. Place the clean seeds on a saucer, not paper, to dry for a few days. Place your parchment paper label over the seeds. Once dried, store the cucamelon seeds in an envelope and label it. Above are two types of cucamelons seeds. The ones on the right have not been fermented and you can see the green gelatinous substance is stuck to them making the seeds harder to separate. The seeds on the left are what I am looking for, nice and dry and no stickiness to them. Why did I save them without fermentation? Since its my first year saving these seeds I will test the unfermented seed to see how it compares with the cleaned seed.  You can use this same process to save seeds from tomatoes and cucumbers as well. They are considered wet seeds. Store dry seeds in a cool garage that is frost-free. Be sure all seed is dried throughly before storing.

To read more about my first growing experience with cucamelons, read Its the Year of the Cucamelon

20 thoughts on “How to Save Cucamelon Seeds

  1. We grew cucamelons this year, too! My students loved picking them as they passed by and popping them in their mouth. We made a simple trellis out of bamboo (two vertical pieces about 3′ high and one cross bar), then tied twine to the top cross bar and let it hang to the ground. The cucamelons did a great job of climbing the twine, creating a wall of beautiful delicate foliage. This seemed to make harvesting pretty effortless. We will try saving seed this week if I can find any remaining fruit. We had our first hard frost last night, so I’ll see what state things are on in our school garden Monday! Thanks for the great idea!

  2. Great instructions thanks. Also, you can grow them again next year by digging the plants up and saving the roots (tubers) over winter and then replanting them. You have to treat the tubers like you would with dahlia’s, maybe wrap them in a newspaper and store in a frost free place over winter.

    1. Thats really interesting. I did have one plant come back in one of the raised beds but it was too late to produce any fruit. I will definitely grow more in 2017.

      1. We are going to dig our plants up in the next few weeks but as we are still getting fruit, we have left it a bit. I will take some photos of the tubers when we are done. Will definitely keep some seed as well following your advice and we have around 50 plants to choose from so thanks again Kristin.

        1. I know,the garden never ends. I hope to put my feet up in November and take a break from the garden. We have a long growing season and I am already planning for spring.

          1. Hi Angela, thanks for dropping by. No, I only save seeds from the fruit for next years planting. I haven’t tried saving the roots over the winter.

    2. Thanks Mark, I’m going to try this. I’m in Edmonton, Alberta, and had HUGE success with cucamelons! They really seemed to like being planted alongside my climbing cherry tomatoes as well.

      1. Aren’t they fun to grow? I dropped a seed in my greenhouse by accident and it grew into a 20′ long plant. I harvest five pounds of cucamelons from one plant. Now I will have loads of seed. I left the root intact in the greenhouse so it will be interesting to see how it fares during a Canadian winter.

  3. Just curious. Did digging out the roots and replanting them next growing year work out? I cant find whether its a perennial or not but would like to hear more about anyone being able to grow this for more than one year.

  4. Hi Kristin,

    Did you ever find time to test the fermented seeds vs. unfermented? I am saving seed this year and would rather not ferment if unfermented seed is just as viable.

    1. Hi Rhonda, I am testing the seeds this year but I am just in the process of drying them right now. Without fermentation, the seeds are covered in a layer of green gel but I will do a germination test this winter.

      1. Thanks to you I have grown cucamelons for two years. I decided to try both saving methods even though I dislike the mold method. Also saving seed from more of my favourite Salt & Pepper Cucumbers.
        Thanks for the reply. I know how busy we are this time of year!

        1. I found the fermented seeds germinated better. The seeds can be slow to germinate so anything that helps speed the process helps.

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