Growing different varieties of vegetables that appeal to people from diverse ethnic backgrounds is a growing trend in my neck of the woods. I love it because it opens my palate to some fun, new flavors.
I bring this up because my recent trip to Holbrook Farm Market seemed fairly routine, then, I stumbled upon these crazy looking vegetables in the case and had to ask: “What the heck are these?”
I’d like to introduce you to the Maxixe, aka the West India Gherkin aka the Burr Gherkin. According to the website World Crops, they are a type of cucumber that was brought to Brazil from Africa during the slave trade and apparently this crop was grown extensively in New England in the 18th and 19th centuries. Who knew?
They are most popular in Northeastern Brazil. The fruits of maxixe, which are about the size and shape of a chicken egg, can have either supple spines or smooth skin and are pale green in color. Even though there may be soft spines, there’s no need to peel them. When washing them just rub your fingers over them to tame the spines.
They can be eaten boiled, fried, stewed or used fresh in salads. You grow them the same as regular old cucumbers. If you are interested, you can buy seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, D. Landreth Seed Company and Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
So, what did I do with mine? Well, I just made a quick salad. I wanted to see what they tasted like in their raw form. I sliced them up, sprinkled on some ground cumin, ground paprika and chopped chives, then drizzled on some white wine vinegar.
What do I think? They are crisp and refreshing (like any cucumber) with a very slight lemony taste. Would I buy them again? Sure, but i don’t think I’d go out of my way for them.
It’s fun to try a new vegetable, especially when it’s locally grown. I wonder what else I’ll find at my next visit to the market …
Oh, another neat fact: Maxixe is also the name of the Brazilian tango.
Interesting. I always like trying new/different veg than what I've been exposed to. I might go to Holbrooks and check it out.
Yes totally! 🙂