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Achocha (Caigua)

Cyclanthera pedata

Grown by: Truelove Seeds Farm in Glen Mills, PA

  • $5.00

Known as achojcha, achujcha, caygua, caigua, caihua, pepino relleno and "slipper gourd," these vining cucurbits are native to the Andean region, where they have been cultivated since ancient times.

Our seeds originally came to us from our friend Elizabeth Stephens, in Gloucester, Massachusetts - who grew them in connection to her Ecuadorian heritage and to cook them with her mom, and shared seeds with us to grow at our farm.

In Ecuadorian, Peruvian and other Andean cuisines, these green, slipper-shaped fruits are cooked in savory soups, stews and for Achochas Rellenas, a stewed dish where they are stuffed with meat, vegetables, seasonings and variables like raisins, olives, cheese or quail eggs - much like stuffed peppers. At our farm, our team loved eating them raw, off the vine - when the fruits are small, crunchy and tasted like tiny, refreshing cucumbers on a hot summer's afternoon in the field.

The leaves are also edible, and both the leaves and fruits have traditional cultural medicinal uses to help stabilize cholesterol levels, and for anti-inflammatory effects.

Achochas are annual climbing vines that can reach over 10 ft in height. We grew ours on a trellis, where they developed sweet little flowers and eventually crisp, crunchy, green fruits in the early autumn.

Days to maturity: 70-80 days

Seeds per pack: ~10

Germination rate: 98% on 02/09/2024

Planting / harvesting notes

Start seeds indoors 2-4 weeks before your last frost. Use a sterile potting soil. Consider soaking the seeds for greater success, as well as using a heat mat. That said, we have success using neither of those methods. Transplant into the farm after seedlings have at least two sets of leaves and after the soil warms up above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (well after the last frost). Grow in full sun. Provide a trellis for it to climb.

Seed keeping notes

Harvest the yellowing fruits that contain black seeds. Remove the seeds by hand and allow to dry in a well ventilated place for a couple weeks before storing the seeds.

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