This year you may have made a resolution to try new things in your diet and expand your culinary horizons. If so, we recommend you try the Poona Kheera Cucumber.
If you’ve never heard of this cucumber before, you’re in for a treat! Keep reading to learn all about the Poona Kheera Cucumber, from growing it to eating it.
Characteristics of the Poona Kheera Cucumber
While the Poona Keera is most commonly found in its country of origin, India, it’s not too hard to buy it from specialty growers and even farmer’s markets in the United States.
This heirloom cucumber variety is quite versatile since it can be eaten at every stage of maturity and ripeness. More about why that’s important later.
The Poona Kheera Cucumber undergoes several color changes throughout its growth. When it’s young, the fruit has tender, white-yellow skin. This color darkens to green and eventually turns brown with a netting pattern at full maturity.
Because of their final coloration, and the small, round shape of the cucumbers, they are sometimes called the “Little Potato” cucumber.
The Poona Kheera Cucumber is tender and crisp, with a sweet, mild taste. The flavor will vary with maturity, becoming slightly saltier as the fruit grows (but still plenty refreshing). In India, this cucumber is a refreshing, cool ingredient to serve with their spicier foods.
In India, the Poona Kheera is commonly associated with the worship of Lord Krishna, a major deity of Hinduism. The cucumber is used as food and decoration in Krishna Janmashtami festivities, which occur in late summer, and Chappan Bhog, a birthday offering to Krishna.
Why Gardeners Love It
This fruit is very disease and drought-resistant, so it’s easy for beginning gardeners to grow. It’s also a great choice for gardeners who live in climates that are too challenging for traditional cucumber varieties.
Unlike most other kinds of cucumbers, this one won’t become bitter if it stays on the vine for too long. That’s good news for gardeners who are new to cucumber growing, and not yet in the habit of checking vines daily for fruit to harvest!
Eating Poona Kheera Cucumbers
This cucumber can be eaten raw, with or without skin, at any stage of maturity. Chop them up and add them to a salad, eat them plain, or dip them in your favorite spread.
Besides a naturally high water content (like all cucumbers), the Poona Kheera is a great source of potassium and contains vitamins A and C.
Potassium helps maintain a normal level of body fluids, while vitamins A and C can aid your immune system and iron levels, respectively.
Where to Find Fresh Poona Kheeras
Don’t count on finding these in your grocery store’s produce section! Poona Kheeras aren’t grown commercially in the U.S. But if you know where to look for them, you’ll find these bucket-list-worthy cukes.
You can enjoy Poona Kheera cucumbers in your meals, by either purchasing them from specialty growers, farmers’ markets, or by growing them in your home garden.
Poona Kheera Cucumbers can be used in all kinds of different recipes. We found a few tasty ones to share with you.
Falafel and Cucumber Sauce
For a taste of Middle Eastern street food, try making this classic Falafel and Cucumber Sauce combo. It is the perfect combination of smooth and crunchy textures, plus it’s got that cucumber sauce you’ll love.
Chicken and Cucumber Stir Fry
If you want to use cucumber in an unexpected way, whip up this Chicken and Cucumber Stir Fry. Trust us, cucumbers work in a stir fry!
Cucumber Salad with Shishito Pepper and Plum Relish
Put Poona Kheeras with spicy shishito peppers in a Cucumber Salad, and realize why they’re a great counterbalance to spicy flavors.
Growing Poona Kheeras
With the right site preparation and care, gardeners of all experience levels can grow these cucumbers.
Poona Kheera Cucumbers are climbing plants, meaning they will require a trellis once they begin to grow. They can reach a height of 18-24 inches.
Planting should begin in late April or early May, as these fruits need warm soil and full sun. They do best in hot climates, but they can thrive in most environments with proper care and light.
Make sure to pick a sunny location to plant your seeds. If you’re starting your cucumbers in a pot, make sure it’s close to a window.
When planting your seeds, remember that the cucumbers need about 9-12 inches of space between them — crowding could lead to much lower production.
For more detailed information about planting your cucumbers, read our blog post on How to Plant Cucumbers.
As previously mentioned, cucumbers require full sun, which means they need to be in direct sunlight for six to eight hours per day.
Cucumbers also require a lot of water — the soil needs to be moist. But water your plants the correct way!
If you’re new to growing cucumbers, you’ll want to know not to get the leaves wet when you water them. Wet foliage increases the chance of diseases like powdery mildew.
Poona Kheera Cucumbers will ripen in early summer and continue through early fall.
These plants are also heavy producers, so make sure you have lots of recipes on hand, including ones for pickling cucumbers!
Where to Buy Seeds
Because they’re rare in the United States, you’ll have the best luck by ordering seeds and growing these cucumbers yourself.
Poona Kheera seeds can be purchased online from retailers like Amazon.
Time to Try the Poona Kheera Cucumber
The Poona Kheera Cucumber is certainly a variety worth trying out. Whether you’re looking for a new gardening challenge or just want to try an exotic fruit, this cucumber is the one for you.
Here at Minneopa Orchards, we’re passionate about cucumbers and cucumber plants. That’s why our website has everything you need on the subject. Ready to continue discovering these funky fresh vegetables? Then learn more about cucumbers by checking out my planting guides, recipe tips, brand suggestions, and more!