Is Cucumber A Melon?

By Paul Smart •  Updated: 09/17/21 •  4 min read

Is Cucumber A Melon? Cucumbers are a popular fruit that is grown widely in home gardens and is a common ingredient in fresh salads. It is in the cucurbit family and shares many of the characteristics with other plant fruits such as the watermelon, the honeydew melon, and the cantaloupe. So is it a melon?

A Cucumber is not a melon. According to the online etymology dictionary a melon is any plant from the Cucurbit family that has sweet edible flesh. Cucumbers are not a sweet fruit and therefore are not considered a melon even though it belongs to the same genus as many of the melon species, Cumumis.

The Cumumis genus includes plants such as the muskmelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and the Casaba melon. However, the watermelon comes from a separate genus, Citrullus, which originated in Africa. Whereas Melons from the Cumumis genus are thought to have originated in the warm climates of Iran and India, before making their way westward into places like Egypt and eventually Europe.

What Is Common About The Cucumber And Melons

Being from the same genus Cucumbers share a great deal of commonality with many of the melons that are commercially produced for major retail stores. In terms of the plant that produces the fruit, both cucumbers and melons are produced from trailing vine that has tendrils that allow the plant to climb up trees and other plants to access additional light.

All the plants from the Cumumis genus also produce both male and female flowers on the same plant though there are varieties of the cucumbers that produce only female plants, to read more click here. The other common feature of this genus is that the seeds found in the fruit are all very similar in appearance. They are all white in color, smooth and flat.

Cucumber seeds could be easily mistaken for honeydew or cantaloupe seeds. However, watermelon seeds are distinctly different in appearance as they come from a different genus. They are brown in color, fatter, and generally more rounded than cucumber seeds.

Within the fruit, there is also commonality with the arrangement of the seeds. Both the cucumber and the melons’ seeds reside in a soft gelatinous pith in the central part of the fruit. This again differs from the more distantly related watermelon that has the seeds distributed throughout the flesh of fruit as single seeds rather than clusters of seeds.

The other striking similarity characteristic within the plants of this genus is the water content, most fruit within the genus consists of 90% water. Cucumbers generally have a higher water content than melons which is typically up to 96% water.

What Are Differences Between Cucumbers And Melons

The first and most striking difference is the sugar content. Melons have between 2 and 3 higher times the sugar content than cucumber which has a significant effect on the flavor and the recommendations provide by dietitians in terms of the rate of consumption.

Dietitians generally recommend that the amount of melon eaten is limited. This is particularly the case for those people that are diabetics. This is because the sugars present are already present in a rapidly digestible form that means that the melons are a relatively high GI food.

The second significant difference is the skin on most varieties of cucumber is edible. However, there are a few varieties that have thorny skins that are somewhat less appetizing.

As the skin of most melons is significantly thicker than cucumbers they tend to have a significantly longer shelf life than cucumbers. Cucumbers tend to last only a few weeks in the fridge whereas melons tend to last a month or two.

The other significantly different feature of the cucumbers is their elongated shape, compared to the rounded shape of the melon. However, it is important to note that there are varieties of cucumbers that exist that are round such as the apple crystal cucumber. These varieties are usually significantly smaller than most melons, typically, a little larger than the size of a tennis ball.

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Paul Smart