Unusual Cucumbers - Exotic Hot Countries On The Dining Table. Photo

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Unusual Cucumbers - Exotic Hot Countries On The Dining Table. Photo
Unusual Cucumbers - Exotic Hot Countries On The Dining Table. Photo

Video: Unusual Cucumbers - Exotic Hot Countries On The Dining Table. Photo

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If you want to surprise your neighbors with unusual vegetables, and guests with outlandish dishes, take up the family of exotic cucumbers. Most of them come from the tropics, but quickly take root in colder regions, forming fairly high yields, good, albeit unusual, taste. Some exotics are used to treat certain diseases.

Fancy cucumbers
Fancy cucumbers

Exotic in the country

In contrast to the cucumber, traditional for Russian cuisine, moderately long, green, with pimples, exotics in the process of phylogenesis acquired various species similar in appearance not only to related pumpkin crops, but also to other vegetable and fruit crops. They have a wide range of colors: green, red, yellow, orange, white, marble. In size and shape, they can be very tiny, like pickles and gherkins, or hang down like serpentine fruits up to a meter long.

Exots have a good character. They do not require special techniques for planting and caring, and their only whim is the presence of support, which helps the fruits to maintain their normal species shape and develop sufficient vegetative mass to provide the fruits with nutrients. With equal success, unusual cucumbers can be grown in sunny areas and in partial shade using conventional agricultural techniques: watering, feeding, weed control, stalk formation (pinching) and other methods.

Unusual common features of exotic cucumbers

White cucumber

White cucumbers differ from ordinary green ones only in color. Having lost the green color of the fruit, white-colored cucumbers have acquired a lot of useful properties. They can withstand hot weather up to +45 ° С, are resistant to diseases and pests. Fruits up to 20 cm long are formed. Zelens 8-12 cm are used for food. The pulp is tender, sweetish in taste, a recognized delicacy among cucumbers.

White cucumber
White cucumber

Popular varieties for home cultivation: Snow White, Italian White, Bride, Snow Leopard, White Angel and others.

They belong to the long-leaved group. Therefore, it is better to grow them on special nets or trellises. They are characterized by frost resistance and shade tolerance. Seeds are sown in open ground in late April - early May. The crops are covered with foil, agrofibre or other covering material. Fruiting before frost. Agrotechnics of care are common for cucumbers.

Chinese serpentine

The most common and familiar to summer residents are Chinese cucumbers, the long fruits of which hang down like snakes. Hence the name of the varieties Chinese snakes, Chinese long-fruited, Chinese miracle, Chinese white and others. Our varieties have appeared on the Russian market: Emerald Stream, Udav and others.

Chinese serpentine cucumber
Chinese serpentine cucumber

They grow with equal success in the open field and in greenhouse conditions. Scourges up to 3.5 m, covered with large leaves with a slightly rough surface, are decorative, and fruits from 40 to 90 cm long amaze with excellent taste: they never taste bitter, the pulp is tender, sweetish taste with a subtle aroma of ripe watermelon. To obtain a bountiful harvest, root and foliar top dressing with nitrogen, boron, potassium, and calcium is required. The lack of these elements affects the taste and appearance of the fruit.

The fruits become hooked and tasteless. When removed, they quickly lose moisture and shrink. Therefore, they are used immediately after harvesting. Practically not subject to storage. Harvest as needed to prolong use. Chinese cucumbers are propagated by seeds, but the germination of the latter does not exceed 20-25%, therefore, they always carry out a thickened sowing, followed by a breakthrough.

Kiwano

Kiwano is an African relative of the cucumber of the common pumpkin family. The exotic appearance of the fruit has determined a number of popular names: African cucumber, English tomato, horned melon.

Like Chinese cucumbers, kiwano form 3-meter thin, strong stems climbing on supports. Fruits, up to 15 cm long, yellow or orange, are covered with soft "thorns". The sweet and sour taste of the jelly-like bright green flesh resembles a banana or a regular cucumber.

Kiwano, or horned melon, or African cucumber (Cucumis metulifer)
Kiwano, or horned melon, or African cucumber (Cucumis metulifer)

Kiwano, in addition to its exotic appearance, has a number of useful properties. Its fruits are especially beneficial when fresh. They are high in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and other elements and vitamins. They have medicinal properties and are used for problems with the gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, and immunity. Kiwano is widely used for cosmetic masks. The fruits are an integral part of the preparation of ice cream, cakes, salads, dessert dishes, cocktails. Kiwano green fruits are used in salads like regular cucumbers.

Chayote - Mexican cucumber

Chayote, in terms of its taste and appearance of the fruit, is a more distant relative of Kiwano and common cucumber. Its fruit is shaped like an unusually large unripe light green pear. The inside of the fruit is a juicy white flesh. The taste of the pulp is sweetish.

Chayote needs special growing conditions

  • abundant watering with water heated to 25 ° С,
  • the soil is limed before planting, since chayote does not tolerate acidification,
  • the growing season is up to 180 days. It belongs to the group of short-day plants. Chayote blooms only when the day length is no more than 12 hours,
  • does not tolerate cold soil, the temperature of which must be at least +15 ° С,
  • plants need a sufficient area (2x2 m).

At the same time, it is a very interesting viviparous plant. For reproduction, whole fruits are used, which are placed in the soil at an inclination of 45 degrees with the wide side down. Fruits are covered with soil by 2/3. First, the root system is formed, and then young shoots with leaves appear from the upper aerial part. There are many shoots, therefore plucking is carried out, leaving 2-3 of the strongest shoots. With its antennae, the plant clings to the support and stretches upward. In order for the plant to bloom, the light period is artificially reduced by covering the plants with an opaque material. Agrotechnology for plant care is common for cucumbers.

Edible chayote or Mexican cucumber (Sechium edule)
Edible chayote or Mexican cucumber (Sechium edule)

Lack of culture - large heavy fruits on a thin stalk break off in the wind, get damaged and rot. When ripe, the crop is harvested carefully, as damaged fruits are not stored. With proper fruit picking, the harvest is stored for up to six months. Cucumbers are harvested in September and stored at +3.. +5 ° С. Previously, the stalks are removed from the fruit and dried for several days at room temperature.

Chayote is used fresh as ordinary cucumbers. Hot dishes are prepared: stew, fried, stuffed like zucchini.

Melotria rough

Melotria rough (the next exotic from Africa) is also called a mini-cucumber for the miniature size of the fruits (1.5-2.5 cm), which resemble toy watermelons. In taste and use, they may well replace ordinary cucumbers. Used for salads and processing (salting, canning).

Melotria rough (Melothria scabra)
Melotria rough (Melothria scabra)

Melotria in central Russia is grown as an annual crop through seedlings. Seeds are sown in prepared mini-greenhouses at the end of March-April in a 0.5 cm layer of wet soil. At a temperature of +25.. +27 ° C, seedlings appear in 5-7 days. Transplanting seedlings does not affect developmental activity and after 2-4 weeks the vines reach 3-4 m in length and bloom. In a sunny, warm area (without drafts), with systematic feeding after 1.5-2.0 weeks and weekly watering, seedlings planted in a permanent place form the first fruits on days 14-18.

Lovers of the exotic grow melotria as an ornamental culture. Bright green leaves do not lose their green color throughout the warm season, and rapid growth makes it possible to plant greenery on a large area of ​​arbors and rotundas in a short time.

Armenian cucumbers

The Armenian cucumber is also called silver melon - the Central Asian brother of the pumpkin family. The most popular varieties among the population include White Bogatyr, Silver Melon.

Like the above-described species, Armenian cucumbers are easily cultivated in open and protected ground. They do not get sick, are resistant to temperature extremes. They are distinguished by long-term fruiting. They form whips up to 4 meters and need supports.

Armenian cucumbers
Armenian cucumbers

The Armenian cucumber has a very interesting external shape of the fruit. Long (like Chinese) up to 50 cm, it is covered with soft silvery pubescence. The weight of one mature fruit reaches a kilogram. The taste is somewhat peculiar, designed for an amateur. Some lovers of exotic vegetables believe that they taste like pumpkin, others compare them to melon.

Momordica

Momordica belongs to Indian cucumbers. Cucumber has several synonyms - bitter melon, bitter apple, allspice pear, bitter gourd.

It can be freely grown in open ground, on a windowsill, on a balcony, or a loggia. For the decorativeness of vegetative organs, flowers and fruits, momordica is especially appreciated by landscape decorators. Bright yellow flowers with a jasmine scent are very attractive. Fruits change their shape and color during development. Long greens (6-8 cm) resemble cucumbers, and the bumpy surface is a crocodile skin.

The resemblance to a crocodile increases with the ripening of the fruit. They gradually change the green color of the fruit to orange. The lower part of the fruit cracks and during this period of time it resembles the open mouth of a crocodile, filled with bright red or bright crimson seeds in a jelly-like pulp. For this amazing similarity, the Indian momordiku cucumber is called the "crocodile cucumber". Young greens taste like zucchini, unripe pumpkin and cucumber at the same time. Ripe fruits are sugary sweet with bitterness. For its peculiar taste, the fruits are used only by lovers of exotic vegetables.

Momordica charantia, or bitter cucumber (Momordica charantia)
Momordica charantia, or bitter cucumber (Momordica charantia)

When grown from seeds, the latter are necessarily scarified with sandpaper, disinfected, wrapped in a cloth, which is constantly moistened, placed in a warm (+25 ° C) place for 2-4 days. A nutrient mixture is prepared in advance in pots, where cracked seeds are sown in the second half of March. The waiting time for seedlings is 2 weeks. The soil must be constantly moist. In the second half of May, momordica is planted in open ground. Damage to the delicate root system will kill the plant. Rooted plants are fed with boric acid solution (foliar) and nitrophosphate. In the southern regions, Momordica is successfully grown by sowing seeds in open ground. Agricultural technology is common for cucumbers.

Momordica is used in the treatment of certain types of tumors, eye diseases, cardiovascular system, to improve immunity.

Italian cucumbers

Italian cucumbers are a miracle of Italian selection. They are reminiscent of Armenian with long pubescent fruits and long fruiting. Agricultural technology is common. The most common and recognizable varieties of Italian cucumbers are Watermelon (Tortarello) and Barrese.

Italian cucumbers Watermelon (Tortarello)
Italian cucumbers Watermelon (Tortarello)

For the Arbuzze variety, a light green surface of fruits with pronounced ribbing is typical. Fruits over 50 cm. They have a mixture of watermelon and cucumber flavors. The pulp of the fruit is sweetish.

Barrese fruits are dark green in color, changing to yellow-orange at maturity. The taste and aroma of the fruit is reminiscent of a melon.

English Lemon Cucumber

In appearance, the lemon-cucumber really looks more like a lemon than a cucumber. A distinctive feature of the fruit is the high content of crystal clear moisture in the pulp. In the zelentz phase, the fruits are light green in color. When ripe, they acquire a light yellow color, pleasant aroma and taste. The surface of the fruit is covered with a silky fluff. The culture bears fruit until the frost. They are used fresh and canned. When processed, the fruits retain their color and shape without changing. The lemon cucumber has one feature: the lashes reach a length of up to 6 m and form fruits only when placed on supports.

Cucumber-Lemon
Cucumber-Lemon

In the south, seeds are sown in early June directly into the soil. The plant is truly southern, therefore, in central Russia it is grown through seedlings. Seeds are sown in mini-greenhouses in March-April in light water- and air-permeable soil, sufficiently supplied with nutrients. Before germination, the soil is kept moist, and the temperature is not lower than +22.. +25 ° С. Seedlings are planted in the second half of May - early June in the garden. In the open field, agricultural technology is common. Lemon cucumber loves moisture and responds well to watering, but it is able to extract moisture from the air and thus wait out the dry season.

Trihozant

Trichozant, or snake-like cucumber from Southeast Asia. Its name derives from the external shape of the fruit, which resembles writhing dark green snakes, which eventually change color to a bright red-orange color. In length, the fruits reach 1.2 meters. In the regions of Russia, Trichozant is not widespread, and in the countries of Southeast Asia it is cultivated as a vegetable crop. In Russia, it is grown mainly by lovers of exotic plants because of its decorative effect.

Like other species, Trichozant is unpretentious in care. Trichozant flowers are very unusual: small, no more than 4 cm, they resemble snowflakes. Given the thermophilic nature of the culture, the Trichozant is propagated through seedlings, sowing seeds in mini-greenhouses in the first decade of May, and for a permanent meal - in early June. Basically, Trichozant grows in the open field only in the southern regions. In the middle lane, this is a greenhouse plant.

Kirilov's trichozant (Trichosanthes kirilowii), or Japanese Trichosanthes japonica, or Snake cucumber
Kirilov's trichozant (Trichosanthes kirilowii), or Japanese Trichosanthes japonica, or Snake cucumber

Doubtful tladianta

Another representative of the pumpkin from Southeast Asia. The climbing liana of 5 meters in height has an extraordinary decorative effect. Light green, heart-shaped leaves and bright yellow tulip-shaped flowers create phytowalls of extraordinary beauty. Flowering continues throughout the warm period. Cucumbers form at the base of the flowers. Green fruits can be used for canning. Cucumbers turn red as they ripen. The red fruits are very sweet and are used to make jam. Fruiting is provided by manual pollination, but taking into account the late development of female flowers, it is difficult to get mature fruits.

The culture is propagated by seeds and tubers similar to potatoes. Tuberous propagation is the most acceptable and time-saving. Tubers are planted 8-10 cm in the second decade of April and in the second decade of May the first shoots appear. The aboveground part dies off in autumn, and the tubers overwinter in the soil. In one place without a transplant, Tladiant can grow up to 10 years.

Tladiantha dubia
Tladiantha dubia

Cucumber seeds are propagated through seedlings. Seeds are usually stratified in a refrigerator or unheated room. At the beginning of March, seeds are sown superficially on a prepared moist substrate. Seedlings thrive in low light and medium temperatures of at least 0 ° C. Seedlings are successfully obtained by growing on glazed loggias or balconies. Tladianty seedlings are planted in a permanent place, like Trichozant, in late May - early June. Agricultural technology is common. The culture needs constant moderate watering, does not tolerate waterlogging (tubers die).

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