How to grow and prepare caigua
Do you know caigua, or you just heard of it and thinking about growing it? Well, whatever the case may be it is definitely beneficial to grow caigua in your garden.You can marinate caigua in brine just like cucumbers and they will taste great. Young fruits taste just like young peas and they are delicious. Caigua is excellent for soups, sauces and many other dishes. Let us look at some basic principles of caigua cultivation and, of course, how to properly prepare this delicious fruit.
Introducing Cyclanthera pedata
Cyclanthera pedata belongs to the gourd family. It is often referred to as caigua. It is a climbing plant with thin stem and dense branching capable of reaching up to 5 meters. It originally came from Latin and South America. Caigua leaves are 6 to 14 cm in size and have characteristic serrated edges. Fruits / pods are about 20 cm in length and strongly resemble regular pea pods with a rather sharp point. Seeds hidden inside are black and rather rough to the touch. After ripening, pods have a nice sweet and sour taste and look very much like cucumbers or peppers. The great thing about caiga is that you can harvest up to 300 fruits from one plant!
Brief introduction to caiga growing
Before you plant caiga seedlings outside make sure that there is no danger of frost. If the weather is warm, as right now, you may start but we recommend after May 15. Use stakes, or other support, or even fence in your garden as support. Around this time you can even sow seeds directly. However, planting seedlings is better. Sow your seeds in small pots in early April just like you would do with cucumber seeds. Sufficient nutrients and regular watering are crucial. If you sow caiga in the spring, you can harvest at the end of August.
How to prepare, use and consume caiga
Well it is totally up to you. Native Indians for example, used caiga to brush their teeth. But we have toothpastes these days and they seem to do their job quite well. But caigua is great for stuffing and if you have plenty of caiga fruit, you can marinade them just like pickles! We’ve already mentioned canning, which is another great way how to use caiga. But as any fruit or vegetable, caiga is best when eaten raw, because raw fruits and vegetables contain the largest amount of vitamins and other nutrients beneficial to the human body.
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