are one of my favorite fruits during the summer months. After
all, who doesnt love a big, juicy slice of watermelon
on a hot day! Melons have been enjoyed for over 4,000 years
but only relatively recently have melons been readily available
on a consistent basis in mainstream grocery stores, particularly
the "big three" watermelon, cantaloupe and
honeydew. There are actually 2 different classes of melons;
muskmelons and the watermelons.
Watermelons come in all shapes and sizes
and come in a variety of colors. The flesh can range from
white to a deep red, with newer varieties being prized for
their deep gold and bright orange colors. Some watermelon
varieties have seeds in a wide range of colors, including
even green or reddish seeds. Seeds are optional now as many
watermelons are available with small soft wide seeds rather
than the traditional hard black ones we are used to. The so-called
"seedless" watermelon varieties fall into this category and
you can either eat or discard the small pale seeds. Watermelons
are in peak season, in the U.S., from mid-June to late August.
a Perfect Watermelon:
Look for a symmetrical melon with no indentations,
holes, scars, soft areas, cracks or large spots. There should
be a spot on the bottom where it rested in field and
this is fine but it should be pale golden in color
and not white. The outside of the melon should be dull and
not shiny and have a balanced color. If you tap the outside
of the melon and it sounds hollow it should be ripe.
Watermelons should be stored in the refrigerator or a very
The most common muskmelons are cantaloupes,
honeydews, casaba, cranshaw, Juan canary, and Santa Claus
melons. Muskmelons are further broken down into two groups,
those with smooth skins like the honeydew and those with a
netted skin like the cantaloupe. They come in a wide range
of colors both on the interior and exterior. All muskmelons
have hollow seed filled centers rather than seeds dispersed
throughout the flesh. Most varieties of muskmelons come into
season during the late summer and early-mid fall.
Choosing a Perfect Muskmelon:
Melons should be heavy for their size and
while there is no real way to help you know this at first,
the more you try different melons and compare them, the easier
it is to judge their relative weight. Smell the melon
it will be fragrant when ripe. If you sniff the skin and can
smell the flavor of the melon it should be perfect for eating.
Store melons in the refrigerator.
Great Melon Recipes!
Watermelon & Mango with Lime
Makes 6-8 servings.
- 1 4-lb. watermelon piece, rind removed
and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 honeydew melon, rind and seeds removed
and cut in1 inch pieces
- 2 mangoes, peeled & pitted, cut into
1 inch pieces
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Zest from 1 lime
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar, or more to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
Cover and chill for 20 minutes.
Mesclun w/Watermelon, Feta & Toasted
Makes 4 servings.
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups cubed watermelon
- 6 cups mixed greens or mesclun
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta
Whisk together lemon juice, vinegar and
oil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
In a large bowl, toss watermelon, mixed greens and pine nuts.
Drizzle half the dressing on salad and toss to coat leaves.
Add more dressing until leaves are nicely coated but not drenched.
Just before serving sprinkle feta cheese over the top.
Makes about 1 quart.
- 1/2 large cantaloupe
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 5 ounces light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 4 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
Scoop out the seeds of the cantaloupe and
peel off the rind. Cut the flesh into small pieces. Place
the cantaloupe in a food processor and puree.
Beat together the egg yolks and 1/3 cup
sugar until thick. Warm the corn syrup over low heat. Whisk
together the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk mixture into the corn
syrup and cook over low heat, whisking just until warmed through.
Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve into
a large bowl. In separate bowl, whip the cream until soft
peaks form and fold it into the yolk mixture.
Beat the egg whites with 1 tablespoon sugar
until soft peaks form. Fold into yolk mixture. Stir in melon
puree, lime zest and lemon juice. Freeze according to instructions
for your ice cream maker.
Other great melon recipes on Glutenfreeda.com:
Wrapped in Prosciutto
& Strawberry Salad