Beyond Cucumbers

Whether you have enough summer warmth to grow these outside, a greenhouse, or even a bright window, here are some interesting options for the garden with similar climate requirements and taste profiles to cucumbers.

1. Egyptian Luffa or Chinese Okra (Luffa Aegyptica) [BUY SEEDS]

Also known as Loofah, this gourd can be dried on the vine, and made into a durable organic scrubber for the bath or kitchen. The juvenile fruits are also edible, and used in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines.

2. Caigua (Cyclanthera pedata[BUY SEEDS]

Like potatoes, the Caigua vine was domesticated in the Andes, where it is called pepino de rellenar, or “stuffing cucumber.”

3. Jungle Cucumber (Zehneria scabra[BUY SEEDS]

An extremely small fruit, Zehneria vines produce sweet, flavour-packed, cucumber-like fruits.

4. Horned Melon, or Kiwano (Cucumis metuliferus[BUY SEEDS]

Native to Africa, the horned melon’s flavour has been described as something in between a cucumber, lemon, and banana.

5. Pepino dulce or Melon Pear (Solanum muricatum[BUY SEEDS]

A member of the Solanum family and native to the Andes, the flavour of Pepino is often described as being a mixture of a honeydew and a cucumber.

6. Okra, or Gumbo (Abelmoschus esculentus[BUY SEEDS]

A member of the mallow family—and native to either South Asia, Ethiopia or West Africa—okra is a fixture in Mediterranean cuisines, South Asian cuisines, and many cuisines across the African diaspora.