Seed Saving My Dragon Egg Cucumber

Earlier this year, I missed one of my cucumbers hidden in the deep foliage of Spring. A Dragon Egg Cucumber is a white cucumber that is shaped like an egg. It is about the size of tennis ball and these are great because they do not go bitter with age. If you miss one, they are still edible. It is also hard to tell if they are ripe since size is the only indicator. There is no green to yellow to tell you when its ripe. I waited until the plant released the cucumber before collecting. So I had this one big monster of a cucumber. It is time for a cucumber seed saving experiment with my favorite cucumber.

Seed Saving My Baby Dragon’s Cucumber Babies

This is a pretty simple process. I had some time away before I could do this. As a result it got stuffed in the frig for a few weeks. It actually looked pretty good after all that time. This does mean that it was cold exposed. I don’t think that will be an issue but it is something to be concerned about in this experiment.

The goal is to crack this open while damaging as few seeds as possible. I am going use my knife and only cut about 40ish percent into the fruit to minimize seed hitting. This maybe too much but I don’t know what one of these look like in the middle. It could be full of seed or a hollow cavity. In hindsight, I would go no more then a quarter unless I thought I could not break it clearly. Make sure to trim the ends since that has more flesh and skin to hold it together.

After pulling out the knife, it is time to jam your fingers into the cut and tear it apart into two chunks with you bare hands.

There is surprising little mass holding it together so it is extremely easy to break open.

The goal at this point is to extract the seeds in the center while leaving the white flesh behind. There is a specialized tool for such things. It was introduced to me while watching one of Jacques Pepin’s shows.

It’s a spoon. The greatest cucumber deseeding tool in existence. Shove it in, scoop and scrap out the seeds. They will be in a gelatinous coating. If you read about my Jelly Melon seed saving then you have an idea of what I mean. We will deal with that later. We just want clean of the connective tissue of the fruit.

Put the seeds into a jar. For me this is almost always a chipped beef jar. SOS on biscuits is the king of breakfast so I always have plenty.

Try to leave as much connective tissue behinds as possible. The gel coat is ok.

Now you have a pile of connective tissue and a boat of cucumber to play with, compost or pitch.

Repeat with the second half of the cucumber.

With that complete, fill the rest of the jar with water. Very lightly cover it and let it sit at room temperature for 48ish hours. We want to ferment it.

After 24 hours, you get something that looks like this.

When it is time to check, dump the jar into a colander over the sink.

Wash away the seed coat as much as you can with your fingers and the wire mesh. If you find it too tough then put back in the jar, fill with water and let it ferment for another 24 hours. Repeat this as often as needed to get the coat to dissolve away.

Get some parchment paper or some silicone pads to spread your seeds over.

Dump and spread out the seeds. You want to avoid big clumps as much as you can.

As with all seed saving activities, you should check to make sure the viability. If it isn’t then you can plan to buy more seed or try again, if the season permits.

I should do a post on seed testing sometime in the future.

What’s Next?

After waiting a couple of weeks, if you don’t have sprouts then you successfully practiced seeds saving rather than actually doing it. You want sprouts.

Sprouts, in this case all 10

Let them dry completely out before putting them into storage. Keep them cool and dark when you store them. My Chinese Peppers sat in a sealed chipped beef jar for over a decade in a dark closet. While there are probably other processes for cucumber seed saving, I suspect this is one of the less disgusting methods.

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