Friday, December 04, 2009

Have you eaten Sikkim Cucumber ?

Ever heard of "Sikkim Cucumber"? To my little knowledge i have very little heard about it. Well to my surprise there seems to have a cucumber species in our locality that is known to the other parts of the world as "Sikkim Cucumber" or more efficiently "Concombre Apple Sikkim". It is said to have orange red skin colour.

It is said that "Sikkim Cucumber is not an hybrid, but an ancient variety which grows in Sikkim State in India. Protected by a hard skin, it can easily stored safely for months! It is comparatively small, never reaching more that 10 cm/4 inches. Its skin makes for a beautiful design and a popular ornamental plant in Europe. But it is edible. Its taste is soft and void of acidity. It can be eaten raw or cooked. It certainly seems very popular in the Indian Himalayas. It can actually be prepared in as many dishes as usual green cucumbers."

Never knew that one of my favourite Karkra had its ancient connection with Sikkim. Nevertheless if anyone finds this type please send me one.

This was written about Sikkim Cucumber in one of the website (amishlandseeds.com):

"(Cucumis sativus var. sikkimensis) -This year I finally was able to acquire some seeds to this rare cucumber which I had been searching for for years. This is the information given to my by the French seed saver, who I got my original seeds from: "The historic cucumber of 'Sikkim'. Fat, large fruit can reach 15" long by 6" wide. The ripe fruit is a unique rusty red color and is good eaten cooked or raw....A nice, short, fat fruit with peculiar maroon color netting the skin. Can be eaten young or used in winter dried arrangements like ornamental gourds. To 1 kilo...... In Asia cucumbers are often stir-fried and are quite tasty. This variety is grown in the Himalayas of Sikkim and Nepal. Sir Joseph Hooker first discovered it in the eastern Himalayas in 1848. Here is part of what he wrote about it: 'So abundant were the fruits, that for days together I saw gnawed fruits lying by the natives’ paths by the thousands, and every man, woman and child seemed engaged throughout the day in devouring them.' .... This is one of the most remarkable varieties of the common Cucumber known, and was first botanically noticed by Sir Joseph Hooker, in 1848."

These cucumbers look remarkably like cantaloupes, both in size and in the netting on the skin. The only difference is that the color seems to be a bit darker. Mine were not, however, a rusty red color,they were more like a deep tan with deep brown netting. The leaves of the plant are fully  3 to 4 times the size of normal cucumber vine leaves and are very exotic looking. The flowers also are huge".




 
pic : perkle.com