Heart-shaped cucumbers make debut

February 17, 2011

Heart and star cucumbers will be hitting grocery stores soon.

Credit: Courtesy of J. Sainsbury PLC
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I missed it two weeks ago, but Sainsbury, the largest grocery chain in the United Kingdom, premiered heart-shaped cucumbers for Valentine’s Day customers.

The grocery giant announced it plans to start selling star-shaped cukes this summer. A half of one sells for $1.66, which is equivalent to one English pound of currency. Both shapes have been sold in Japan for more than four years and soon will be available in U.S. stores.

My first question was, “Is this more genetic tinkering?” Upon, researching, I found it’s not.
The cucumbers are grown about ten days in clear plastic molds to shape them. Molds are slipped on cucumbers when they are about one inch long. It’s best to trellis vines so that rapidly-developing fruits grow straight.

My next question was, “Can I get my engineer husband to make some molds for me?” You can buy them from Japanese sources, but they are $85 each, plus $19 shipping! That’s a bit steep.

Fruits and vegetables have been grown in molds such as bottles and boxes for centuries to alter their shapes. Renaissance wine makers put bottles over tiny, developing pears so that the pear grows in the bottle. Perry or pear wine filled the rest of the bottle, and it was corked and aged for several months. The resulting drink was bubbly and mild and a favorite of British and French ladies.

I’ll let you know if husband makes any or if I find a more reasonably-priced source for heart and star cucumber molds. I think they’d be a wonderful addition to salads and relish trays to celebrate July 4th this year.

What do you think about these new cucumbers? Do you plan on growing any new garden varieties this year? Please share your thoughts, questions, and comments below!

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Doreen Howard has written for The Old Farmer's Almanac All-Seasons Garden Guide for 15 years and is the former garden editor at Woman’s Day as well as a photographer. She has grown more than 300 varieties of heirloom edibles and flowers in the last two decades.

In stores now!

Look for Doreen's newest book, Heirloom Flavor: Yesterday's Best-Tasting Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs for Today's Cook. Find in stores everywhere including Walmart and on the Web including amazon.com.

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Comments

You can also get the molds

By Vanessa Jacobs

You can also get the molds here http://www.sowdelicious.co.za They are much sturdier than the Japanese ones and are made from food grade plastic and are also much cheaper. Bought mine there - they great

I investigated the Spain

By Dianne Sterling

I investigated the Spain suppier for both personal and as a retail item via our business and the shipping from Spain is a deterrent for me in either quantity, but the company is looking into a state side distributor. FYI the Spain manufacturer is Zayintec; are large agri- GMO seed company. You can check them out at the .com of the name.

Would soap molds

By amd

Would soap molds work?

http://cart.candlesupply.com/Tube-Loaf-Insert-Molds-c-385.html

or perhaps silicone as todd found the plastic cracked
http://www.wholesalesuppliesplus.com/ProductDetail.aspx?CatalogID=1&GroupID=261&CategoryID=2022&ProductID=8548&ProductName=Crafters+Choice%E2%84%A2+Hearts+%26+Lips+Mini+-+Silicone+Tube+Mold+1901

I found it extremely

By ToddGordon33

I found it extremely difficult to remove the plastic pins at the bottom of the heart shaped Japanese molds. After using an Japanese mold just a few times the tabs that are around the plastic pins start cracking and thus rend the mold useless. Other attempts to hold the mold closed was futile.
by Todd Gordon

This spanish molds works

By JavierLopez

This spanish molds works really good, and are quite cheaper than the japanese one

www.withheartandstar.com

I am looking to make the

By Phil P

I am looking to make the heart shaped cucumber mould in the UK and have it available in about 6 weeks if all goes to plan.
If anybody is still interested please let me know. Also how much would you be expecting to pay?, With this information I can make sure it is a viable idea.
Thank you

I would be interested in

By Dianne Sterling

I would be interested in owning and selling these (Tag Nab It caters to the gardening community with whimsy). I think $20 Us dollars would be a reasonable resale price for a set of 3

You can buy it for 10 €

By JavierLopez

You can buy it for 10 € here
http://www.withheartandstar.com/home

a great idea- make them in the USA

By karlaT1958

I found a great site but they are out of business vegiforms.com! They have been around a long time and quit because of the price of plastic due to oil prices. I tried to order on Jan 29,2012. They sold diamond shaped, and faces like a Garden Elf and "PicklePuss" for cheap $10.95! Why can't someone easily make the heart and star molds in the USA. I checked the Japanese website and now they want $91 and $22 for shipping for 3 of the heart molds or 3 of the star molds. WAY too expensive! Can't Americans come up with a cheaper way? It's a shame that the USA has lost all ideas and motivation to manufacture OUR OWN versions! It shouldn't cost almost $40 for one mold... come on US engineers-- we know you can do it. I hope the Tweddell's from Vegiforms give it another try someday. I'll be waiting in line! It's just a shame the Japan and China can manufacture everything and the USA has lost that ability. What is the US turning into? We should be able to stand tall and make anything we want--NOT DEPEND ON OTHER COUNTRIES!

Look

By JavierLopez

Look here
http://www.withheartandstar.com/home

are the cheapest one

That sounds like a good idea.

By farmerboy96

That sounds like a good idea.

Worth a try

By Andy Fox

I would definitely try. Hope they get in the U.S. soon. If you hear of any debut here, please add to post! A "love"ly salad with the hearts and like your 4th July idea. Now--I wonder if you can peel their skins very easily? What do you think?

Re: Worth a Try

By Doreen G. Howard

If I find the molds in the US, I certainly will alert readers.  BTW, Lee Valley does NOT have heart or star molds, only faces and corn cobs.
About cuke skins, why would you want to peel them?  That's where many of the nutrients lie.  IMHO, I think the skins of molded cucumbers would be more tender due to added moisture trapped by the molds.

LOVE THESE!

By Nancy Pullen 2

Ohmygoodness! I absolutely love this idea. I'm filing it under the "Why didn't I think of that" category. Going to checkout Vegiforms. Love the look of that salad!

Novelty vegetable molds

By Betty Earl

Doreen, Lee Valley (and others) have been selling vegiforms for years now. I grew a yellow squash in a corncob mold purchased from Lee Valley about 4 years ago. Currently they are selling these Heart Vegiforms which can be used for cucumbers for $12.50 ($11.50 if you buy three or more.)

Definitely less expensive than the Japanese version!

heart shaped molds

By hotnama

the website at vegiforms say they do not carry the heart shaped forms. :( But I want one! Any idea where else I can find them?

Hi! You can buy it

By JavierLopez

Hi!
You can buy it here

http://www.withheartandstar.com/home

Hearts and stars is the Spain

By Dianne Sterling

Hearts and stars is the Spain resource. Shipping to US is cost prohibitive.

Re: Novelty vegetable molds

By Doreen G. Howard

Terrific!  Thanks for the tip.  I'll order a few to play with this season.

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