Sweet, juicy, crunchy and fleshy, melon has everything to love and to enjoy! Belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family melon could either mean a plant, but it often suggests a fruit. Musky-scented with a hard rind, these delicious pulpy, fleshy fruits grow either by hanging on vines or sprawled around on the ground. There are many cultivars to melon. Cantaloupe is one of the most popular cultivars. Melons are botanically considered fruits and some varieties are considered as vegetables belonging to the gourd family. Melons are packed with nutrition like folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, niacin and more. They also have high fibre and water content, and that is why they are useful diuretics.
Plate it up
Melons are tempting fruits as they indulge your palate and have their healthy side making them better options for your 4 pm snack time. Enjoy them as juice or toss two-three varieties of melons in a dish. Mix it well. Sprinkle little chat masala and a drizzle of lemon juice for the extra yum.
Try out a deli-dessert with custard or relish them as they are supposed to be relished.
Types of melons
Melons are broadly divided into two types – Muskmelons and Watermelons. Muskmelon is a type of melon which is known as Cucumis melo. Some of its varieties are Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Crenshaw, Casaba, and so on. Muskmelons grow in warm or subtropical climates. They require fertile soil with good drainage.
It is the most common fruit eaten in India. Called Kalingaad, it is very refreshing, rejuvenating and contains about 90% water. It is also nutritious, and hence, it makes for good diet food. It contains vitamins A, C, B6, antioxidants, adequate amounts of lycopene, amino acids, and potassium. It has low levels of sodium. It may prevent cancer, is good for the heart, immune system, bone health and digestion and is also anti-inflammatory. It makes skin and hair glow and keeps one healthy. Rich in antioxidant flavonoids, it protects against prostate, breast, colon, pancreatic and lung cancers. These melons are an excellent source of lycopene which protects skin against harmful UV rays. It is also an excellent source for A, C, B-complex vitamins, iron and fibre, which boosts body metabolism. Watermelons are best eaten when fully ripe as that is when it is most nutritious.
Its juicy sweet taste has earned it the title of dessert ingredient. This round, sometimes oval melon, is yellow-green. It has a net-like exterior, is nutritious, full of vitamins and essential minerals. The pale green flesh is juicy. Delicious when eaten raw, these melons usually ripen in late summer. These melons are rich in vitamin C and vitamin B3, B6 and voila! very low in calories. Their tasty seeds can be eaten raw or roasted. Muskmelons have cooling properties.
Rightly called Sun Jewel melons, these fruits are oblong with gently curved ends. They have a smooth, silky yellow skin and have slim white lines running through the oval shape. The glass-like white flesh is crispy and juicy. It has an irresistible aroma of fresh nature. Sun melons can be eaten with skin and seeds and boast of unique honeydew and cucumber blend. Relish it by itself or puree it to add it to ice-cream, smoothies or frozen dessert. They are rich in vitamin A and C and also regulate heartbeat and prevent stroke as they are a good source of lycopene.
Cantaloupe Musk melon (Kharbooj)
They have a net-like, green-greyish skin with sweet orange flesh. It makes for a healthy and refreshing summer snack. It is also a great fruit to make your skin supple and glowing. Packed with nutrients, it is high in vitamin A and C and fibre that is great for those watching their weight. It also contains thiamine and niacin. Consume it as a healthy breakfast or a fruit salad.
Flaunting bright yellow skin, this oval-shaped melon is much tastier than honeydews. Mildly sweet and juicy, it contains vitamin C, A, fibre (good for bowel movements) and potassium. Low in fat and calories, it aids digestion. Canary melons which are bright yellow (not green) are mature and ready to eat. Melons that are harvested before maturity are considered to be of inferior quality. Use Canary melon to make cold soups, salads, granitas and such lip-smacking dishes.
The seeds of melons are incredibly nutritious.
A tip for storing melons is that they should be kept away from other produce.
Muskmelons are good for the skin and help in weight loss.
Because of their high water content melons should not be frozen.