Caigua

← Return to A to Z

Cyclanthera pedata

 

Quick Reference

Optimum Soil Temperature 20-25°
Days to Germination 5-7
Days to Harvest 90 days from transplant
Direct Sow or Transplant Transplant
Distance Apart
Soil pH
Annual/Biennial /Perennial  Annual

History

Caigua (pronounced “Kai-Waa”) is a curcubit that is native to Peru.  It has been cultivated in Central and South America and the Caribbean.  Popular in India, Bhutan and Nepal.  It is said to be one of the crops of the Incas.

It is also known as Achocha, Achokcha, Achojcha, Achoqcha, Achuqcha, Acochca, Archucha Barela, Bottle gourd, Caigua, Caihua, Caygua, Cayua, Kaywa, Korila, Lamthabi, Meetha karela, Patal, Pinyin (Chinese) Pepino de rellenar, Prickle cyclanthera, Slipper gourd, Stuffing cucumber, Lady’s slipper, Sparrow gourd, Calabash gourd.

Growing

Incredibly easy to grow!

Caigua is a vine, equally happy growing along the ground or up a trellis.  It is a frost tender annual.

The leaves are guaranteed to raise a few eyebrows are they bear a strong resemblance to another plant!

The leaves, shoots and fruit are all edible.

Harvest in autumn the plant is frost sensitive and will sulk when frosts arrive.

Immature fruit with fewer spikes can be eaten whole with a taste that is similar to cucumber with a hint of asparagus, perfect for salads.

Mature fruit is also known as a ‘stuffing cucumber’ and can be stuffed with chicken, rice and spices similar to and with a taste that is reminiscent of capsicum.

It can also be breaded and baked or deep fried, juiced, steamed, stir fried, made into soup. seeds can be made into a tea.

The plants can cope with semi-shade but does require a well drained soil.

Likes similar temperatures to tomatoes, so use that as your guideline.

It is a prolific vine, fast growing, with plenty of fruit, so plant well spaced.

Storing harvested Caigua:  Can be dehydrated, frozen, pickled.  Treat as you would cucumber or capsicum.  Fruit will keep for a week stored in a cool, dark place.

Seed Saving:  Is incredibly easy.  Simply pop the black, arrow head shaped seeds out of mature fruit, dry and save for next season.  Caigua will not cross pollinate.

Maintenance

Feeding:  Requires no special considerations

Fun Facts

Cyclanthera pedata – “Ladies slippers” is a smaller variety.  Readily available in New Zealand

Cyclanthera brachystachya – “Fat baby”  Is a larger fruit, more suitable for stuffing.

Cyclanthera explodens – “Exploding cucumber” will expel their seeds with force when mature.  Care must be taken when harvesting and safety goggles are recommended.  (I NEED THIS IN MY LIFE)

t is claimed to reduce cholesterol.

Problems

This plant is frost tender but otherwise easy to grow.

Pests

Deficiencies