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Exploding Cucumber Achocha Cyclanthera Explodens Seeds
Packet of 10+ fresh homegrown seeds!
Another very rarely seen plant that really should have a lot more recognition. It is grown mostly in its native range, which is Southern Mexico, right through Colombia and Ecuador, but gaining popularity due to its natural resistance to fungal diseases like powdery mildew, and its very very easy and prolific growth and its massive amount of coolness and novelty factor. This is only the 2nd time growing this fella, so we are far from experts, but just using polystyrene boxes next to the guinea pig house(I grow them on the fence, saves making a trellis) I am getting great yields, eating 10 or so every day for a couple weeks now. Wish I had these guys years ago when I was living in the city, they would be perfect for a balcony in pots.
When I eat one I just remove a seed and stick it in the dirt and now I have large, medium and small seedling vines so should have a pretty self sustaining population soon.
Ok folks PAY ATTENTION!
SAFETY WARNING. BY BUYING THIS PRODUCT YOU ACCEPT YOU UNDERSTAND THE UNIQUE SAFETY RISKS INVOLVED WITH THIS GROWING THIS PLANT AND YOU WILL NOT HASSLE ME LATER ON DOWN THE TRACK IF YOU OR YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY OR NEIGHBOURS GET SHOT IN THE EYE. These guys are called “Exploding Cucumber” and have a scientific name of “Explodens” because they literally EXPLODE, when the seeds are ready.
Remember those “slap band” or “snap band” bracelets from back in the day? Same theory.
The fruit is a curved coiled spring that gets tighter and tighter as the hollow cavity inside expands and the seeds dry out and harden up. Once the seeds have darkened, the pith has been absorbed and the fruit is fully ripe, it cracks down both sides and explodes open, exposing the seeds.
The seeds are attached to a tiny umbrella like stick, and this stick is flung at great force into the base of the fruit as it coils up like a spring. On impact with the stem end of the fruit this stick breaks apart shooting the seeds in all directions. If you flick your hand as hard as you can (without hurting your finger nail), this is the sort of force the seeds can explode with, so keep away from kiddies.
Not painful at all on the hand, or if a seed hits your arm or face(in my experience), but not a lot of fun in the eye I would reckon…
For this reason I wear glasses and cringe and squint a lot when picking the seeds.
I carefully grab the fruit that have any squareness to them, or straight edges, or a yellow golden tinge, or ones that are just largish and I am suspicious of.
I carefully wrap my hand around the whole fruit in one movement, and once enclosed I give it a very firm squeeze, particularly along the edges. If ripe, the fruit will pop inside my hand without dramas, and I slowly open it, remove the seeds and eat the bugger!
Be careful not to slip and bump it, as that will make it explode. One careful, fully committed movement.
If it doesn’t pop I go to the next one, all the while being careful not to shake the vine or accidentally upset a nearby unseen fruit. Quite fun actually. (Wear safety glasses folks, eyes are important).
Alternatively you can pick them and eat them whole when still small and the seeds are soft. Great in a stirfry or salad. Can be frozen whole or chopped in bags for convenience.
The final way to harvest is just wait until they have popped, and grab the already exploded fruit. Easy to spot, and still tasty, but best some folks say they are best cooked at this stage as they get firmer. I reckon they still taste fine, just like a thin slice of cucumber.
Five or ten plants per box gets an attractive vine maybe four meters long, and each individual plant gets 30-200 fruit. If you pick them regularly you get a steady continuous supply.
The chooks and guinea pigs love them, as do I and these guys are my new favourite plant.
Lots of names for them and there is a lot of confusion about the whole Cyclanthera family. Here are some names I have seen these particular ones called, achoccha, achojcha, achokcha, Bolivian cucumber, Peruvian cucumber, wild cucumber, xiaoque gua, zapatilla gorda, caigua, caihua, achuqcha, achocha, achogcha, achojcha, achokcha, caiba, caigua, caihua, caygua, cayua, Cyclanthera bourgaeana, Cyclanthera brachybotrys, Cyclanthera brachybotrys var. alcocchilla, Cyclanthera costaricensis, Cyclanthera costaricensis var. angustiloba, Cyclanthera explodens var. intermedia, Cyclanthera explodens var. trifida, Cyclanthera glauca, Cyclanthera glauca var. angustiloba, Elaterium brachystachyum, Momordica brachybotrys, Momordica glauca and Cyclanthera brachystachya.
This is believed to be the ancient wild ancestor of the Fat Baby Cyclanthera. Studies are ongoing about the whole families potential health benefits with some folks saying it has potential with regard to diabetes and blood pressure.
The taste is just like a juicy cucumber, very mild in flavour, but not at all bland. Nothing like a choko or zucchini, more of a juicy salad vegetable if you know what I mean? Same texture as thin crispy slice of capsicum, and all those spikes and spines are actually like the soft rubbery projections of a “stress ball”. Great in salads or juiced. Even better straight of the vine.
Can be stirfried, used in pastas, pizzas, soups anything really.
If you want a novelty conversation starting plant that is tasty, and productive, I am telling you now, you just can’t get better! It’s bloody awesome!
There you have it, another beauty you won’t see elsewhere.
Grown organically by me and the Mrs, no chems, no nasties, no problems!!!