Bitter Sweet



It is said that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. Embrace positivity and turn your misfortune into a beneficial and perhaps even enjoyable experience.

I thought I'd come up with something similar within the constraints of my greenhouse recently. Somebody earlier in the year suggested that I grow cucamelons. I confess that I found the prospect of growing a cross between a melon and a cucumber rather exciting, duly sowed the seeds and nurtured the seedlings that followed. There was no hint on the seed packet as to how large the fruit grew and I think, understandably, I was expecting something perhaps mango sized. 

When the plants became overcome by tiny fruit, at best 2 centimetres in length, I reached out to colleagues in the village gardening club for guidance. The consensus was that this was the limit of their size and that they go well as an addition to cocktails as well as being eaten as a sweet canapé.

Reader, to my mind, they can best be described as an acquired taste. The thick skin of a melon stuffed with cucumber type seeds in a tiny bitter bundle is not my idea of flavoursome. However, conscious of lemons and lemonade and drawing on the advice about casting them into alcoholic concoctions, I endeavoured to turn this minor set-back into an achievement. When life gives you cucamelons, throw them in gin!.

It didn't work. Nobody I offered one to, was impressed. Retirement may have fostered in me an attitude of hope and optimism but presumably there are occasions when even the most inspired idealist has to admit defeat. Either that or I retreated to historical despondency and cynicism from pre-retirement practice. When life gives you cucamelons, throw them in the bin!

It emphasised that lesson I learnt on letting go. If you cannot enjoy something then, and without necessarily wanting life to be completely hedonistic, recognise that we have choices on how to make it fulfilling.  After all life really is too short to start chewing on cucamelons.



Christie Hawkes said…
I have never heard of cucamelons, Caree. Having read your description, perhaps it's no surprise. They may not be too popular. But good for you for giving it a go...and also for knowing when to let go. Life is indeed too short to voluntarily chew on something that doesn't satisfy.
Caree Risover said…
Giving up on something you’ve already put so much effort into is always a wrench though, isn’t it?
Marksgran said…
It is very disappointing when seeds don't quite turn out the way you hoped. A couple of years ago I grew cucumbers which looked wonderful but tasted awful! They were incredibly bitter. I read somewhere you had to take off the male flowers or they would be bitter so I dutifully took off all the male flowers every day for weeks, and they still tasted awful!! It broke my heart to throw all those plants and the fruits into the compost heap. On the plus side, I grew cucumbers again this year, a different variety and they have been spectacular. You win some you lose some as they say!!
Caree Risover said…
Maybe this is where vegetable gardening, which many people view as boring, gets its excitement from- never knowing how new seeds or even reliable varieties sown in previous years will turn out when so much depends on the weather and that season’s growing conditions. This year my bean crop has been dismal whilst one variety of tomato that I’d almost given up on for producing tasteless fruit 2 years in a row has produced an abundance of mouthwatering gems. Sometimes you need the failures perhaps to appreciate still more the successes
Very interesting little fruit vegetable. Since they don't taste so great, maybe they could be used as a cute garnish that no one eats. I look forward to your next Franken-vegetable experiment!
Caree Risover said…
Franken-vegetable - love it, but don't even think the specimens I grew would make Halloween garnishes

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