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Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 8:81 (Article 31) 1985

Use of Cucumis anguria as a vegetable in Brazil 

Costa, C. D. da

Departmento de Genetica - ESALQ, Universidad De Sao Paulo, Cx. P. 83 13.400 Piracicaba-SP, Brazil

"Maxixe" is the common name for Cucumis anguria, used in the traditional and popular soup "maxixada" in north and northeastern Brazil. Cucumis anguria was introduced into Brazil by African slaves about 300 years ago. It became semi- wild and was disseminated in all tropical areas of Brazil as a weed because of its seed dormancy. Cucumis anguria germplasm displays wide variation in Brazil, especially in fruit characteristics (Figure 1).

Immature, non-bitter fruit, are used like fresh cucumbers. Mature fruit are prepared and cooked as the basic ingredient of a soup called "maxixada". Other ingredients are meat, mature squash ( Cucurbita moschata or C. Maxima), okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa), and Chinese amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor). Seasonings may be added. The soup has a sourish taste. There are regional variations of the recipe depending upon the availability of the secondary ingredients.

Figure 1. Mature fruit of Cucumis anguria.

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Page citation: Wehner, T.C., Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative;
Created by T.C. Wehner and T. Ng, 1 June 2005; design by C.T. Glenn;
send questions to T.C. Wehner; last revised on 11 December, 2009