Achocha (Cyclanthera pedata)
Achocha is described as ‘One of the Lost Crops of the Incas’ and some have wondered, ‘how?’ In a good year, this is a plant that will take over if not controlled. Achocha has potential as a crop, and as an ornamental in this country. 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. Will not cross with cucumbers or squashes and is self-fertile.
Donated by Jill Campbell, this is a prolific and rampant climber reaching 3-4m if left to its own devices. Seed Guardian Jackie Warner says “it’s ideal if you are doing an amateur production of ‘Day of the Triffids’!” The small, cucumber-like fruits have a fresh flavour, a cross between a minty cucumber and a green pepper. They can be eaten raw or stir-fried when young; when mature they have tougher skins so can be stuffed with meat, fish or cheese, and then baked. Can be used pickled or as a base for chutney.
Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.
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