Growing Caigua From Seed To Harvest

Today I’ll be sharing with you this unusual vegetable that you’ve got to grow! Caigua, also know as achocha, slipper gourd, stuffing cucumber, lady’s finger and wild cucumber (among other names) is an easy to grow vegetable originating in South America, where is has been grown for millennia! While its leaves and fresh shoots are edible, the main value in this vegetable crop is the fruits it produces which have a taste similar to cucumber and green beans when eaten raw, and if cooked tastes like capsicum or green peppers.

These unusual vining vegetables are underrated in my opinion as they aren’t widely known about, however provide an abundance of homegrown produce in the garden that is delicious and very versatile. They also don’t tend to have many issues with pests and diseases and don’t cross pollinate with other vegetables which means it’s easy to save your own seed. As they are a climbing vegetable, they can be grown vertically to save space in the garden. In my area I grow these as an annual, planting in the Spring and growing it through the Summer and early Autumn. Once established they’ll start to produce the fruit, and my Caiguas became ready from late Summer and right through until late Autumn.

Frost will kill this plant, but simply take some seeds out of a mature fruit and replant them the following Spring when the risk of frost has passed. Caigua are said to have many health benefits and medicinal uses – some say that caigua helps to reduce cholesterol and improve heart health. They’re also said to help with tonsillitis, diabetes and as a diuretic. The fruit and leaves are boiled in olive oil and used externally as a topical anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Tea has been made out of the seeds to help reduce blood pressure and address gastrointestinal issues. Seeds have also been crushed and a small amount (1g) consumed in order to eliminate intestinal parasites. The roots have been used to cleanse teeth. Please note that claims of medicinal properties of plants are often noted in many online resources, however there is sometimes not the scientific studies to back up all these ‘health benefits and uses’. The above information is shared for interest and not to be taken as medical advice. Always make sure you do your own thorough research to ensure diet or other additions are right for you, and consult a doctor if unsure.