Seed Saving: expert
Water Requirements: 2
Red Seeded Cedrina (Cucurbita caffer)
Cedrina Red Seeds (Cucurbita caffer): also called Lemon or Winter watermelon. This ancient species has come from Africa, probably from the Kalahari desert and has been cultivated in Italy since the 17th century, possibly even earlier. A piece of information about this variety that is little known but of great importance is the fact that it needs very little water, it is extremely rustic, and bears full sun exposure without any problem, it is also very productive and perfect for winter conservation.In places where it is native as well as in semi-deserted areas where it is cultivated (such as Mexico, to where it is immediately acclimatized) it is also used as a source of water. It can be eaten raw, but its flavour and texture are not the best in that case, in our country, for instance, it is used for making mustard and preserves, thanks to its large content of pectin.
In the next section you will find a traditional recipe of Ravenna.Thecultivationis quite simple, assimilated by necessity to a spontaneous plant, you can also let it grow at the edge of the garden without worrying too much, it will still produce numerous fruits similar to a watermelon of about 2/4 kg, with compact pulp, of lemon-yellow colour when ripe.
It can be sown from April to June (South).Traditionally, some fruits are left on the soil so the following season they grow independently when the temperature is suitable for germination.
Its cultivation is very simple, it has no particular needs of soil, requires very little water, and is resistant to fungal diseases. The ripening is quite long, but it is possible to collect the pumpkins (or watermelons) and to storage them at home so that they ripen.
They are ready for consumption when the pulp is of a beautiful lemon-yellow colour and the seeds of an intense scarlet red.
This species is a sample of sustainability because it has very few needs, it requires minimal soil processing, and does not need irrigation (dry farming), it can be preserved for a long time in both ways, as harvest or processed, without using electricity.