26 facts about Melons
Africa. This continent is believed to be the place where watermelons originated over 4,000 years ago.
Bitter melon. A unique fruit native to India. Bitter melon looks like a spiky cucumber and is known in Hindi as karela. It is widely available at Asian markets and commonly prepared in savory dishes laced with onions, garlic, ginger and spices. Karela is lauded for its health benefits and is particularly useful for the treatment of diabetes. It is quite bitter and must be cooked for an extended period of time.
Cucumis melo. This is the scientific name for cantaloupe. They are two distinct varieties of cantaloupe: the North American cantaloupe and the European cantaloupe.
Dudaim. A term referring to a group of melons that are highly fragrant but inedible. Dudaim melons are very beautiful so they are used mainly as ornamental fruit.
Europe. Melons began appearing on European tables towards the end of the 15th century. Historians believe they were introduced via Italy and spread from there to Western Europe.
Freezing. Due to their high water content it is not recommended to freeze melons, as they will lose their texture when thawed. Naturally, there is an exception to this rule: frozen melon pieces make a great addition to smoothies!
Gourd family. Melons are part of the gourd family which also includes squashes and cucumbers. Gourds grow on vines and must be supported with stalks or trellises.
Honeydew. A variety of melon with a creamy yellow exterior that conceals a bright green interior. Honeydews are sweet and juicy. Ancient Egyptians considered it a sacred fruit reserved only for the most elite people.
Italy. The origin of cantaloupes in Europe can be traced back to the town of Cantalupo, Italy. Legend has it that cantaloupe seeds arrived from Armenia in the 17th century and were planted in the town located near Rome.
Japan. This Asian country is home to the most expensive melons in the world. The Yurabi King melon is grown in the town of Yurabi on the island of Hokkaido. The melons are grown in volcanic ash, harvested by hand, and prized for their sweetness. One melon can cost up to $10,000.
Kavun. The Turkish word for melon is kavun, which originated from the ancient word kagun.
Lycopene. A powerful antioxidant responsible for the bright pink color of watermelons. Studies indicate lycopene has anti-cancerous properties and can protect heart health. Lycopene is also present in tomatoes, guavas and pink grapefruit.
Muskmelon. Derived from the Persian word for aroma and the French word for melon. Muskmelon refers to a species of melons that includes Crenshaws, Honeydew, Cantaloupe, Casaba, and Persian melons.
Noir Des Carmes. A French heirloom melon also known as Black Rock thanks to its very dark skin. It belongs to the same family as cantaloupes and was famously grown by the Carmelite monks. It is very hard to find, as it must be consumed within two days of harvesting.