The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Achocha: an easy alternative to growing sweet green peppers

 

Photo: Bowl of achocha

Photo: Bowl of achocha

I tried growing peppers yet again this year in the greenhouse. Some were attacked by a mystery pest that ate into the fruit just at stem level. The fruit gradually rotted. But one plant was not attacked and we ended the season with sweet peppers – just four but these are the first peppers that I’ve ever managed to grow.

I also planted achocha this year. I hadn’t heard of these until I spotted them on The Real Seed website. Who could resist the name “Fat Baby” and the photo of just a hand poking out from the undergrowth of achocha. Scroll down the page to see what I mean.

Achocha originated in South America and romp away producing lots and lots of these small, spiked green fruit. Raw, they taste like a cucumber crossed with sweet green pepper. Cooked they taste just like green peppers. The spines indicate a touch of hedgehog in their ancestry – only joking – but are soft and strangely palatable.

Mine didn’t flourish like the ones in the photo but were bunged into a very large pot in a sunny SW spot in front of the cottage. They were watered haphazardly and fed just once over the summer but the four plants have produced hundreds of these cute green hedgehog shaped fruits for the past three months. They measure between 1.5 inches/4 cm to 2 inches/5 cm.

Next year I will be growing more achocha in a border trained along a fence or trellis as they have proved to be so much more productive than my sweet pepper plants.  With a bit of luck and TLC we will be able to be self sufficient in sweet green pepper flavoured fruit. This lot are going in the dehydrator (sliced) for winter casseroles and risottos.

If you have problems growing sweet peppers to keep you going throughout the year (with freezing and dehydrating at the end of the summer) these could be the answer for you too.


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17 Comments

  1. I am wondering, if anyone who has Fat Baby Achocha would like to trade with me (I have moringa , Mexican Sour and west India gherkin, red veined sorrel, and some other fun seeds), since Real Seed company won’t ship to US, and they are not available in US (0ne source that had them is out of stock until next year. And I really want to try them this year…Please…:)

    • Terry Phillips

      Daiva, don’t know if you found achocha seeds last year. I grow the smooth variety, and will send you seeds if you want some. I brought seeds with me when I moved home to California from Bolivia years ago. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to be at: Terry Phillips, PO Box 52, Bridgeville, CA 95526.

      • Stacey Lee

        Hi Terry, May I please have some of the anchocha seed. I will send a self addressed stamped envelope if you have any left over. Please email me: eelstac AT gmail DOT com

  2. Robert

    I know this is a really old post but when I was looking for info on achocha I was led here. I am growing these this year – two varieties, one I think the normal ‘lady’s slipper’ and the other the ‘exploding’ cucumber. They are at this stage not as vigorous as expected (trailing behind regular cucumbers, courgettes and squash in terms of growth) but seem healthy…I do look forward to trying the fruit should we get any.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Robert

      Mine are waiting to be planted out and look spindly too. Last year they went out in a giant pot (with 3 canes) and looked pathetic for weeks but suddenly came into their own and became rampant. This year I’m going to feed them to get an even better harvest.

  3. This is great I can’t eat nightshade vegetables, since these are cucurbits I will have to give them a try.

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