Melons A to Z: 26 Fun Facts about Melons

Melons A to Z: 26 Fun Facts about Melons
10 September, 2020

Ottoman cuisine. Stuffed melon was a prized dish of the Ottoman empire. This delicacy features a melon stuffed with a variety of meats, fruits, and/or rice. The optimal melon for this preparation is a small, round, and about the size of a grapefruit. 

Persian melon. A large, oblong-shaped melon similar in flavor to cantaloupe. Persian melons have green skin and a bright orange flesh. They are in season from July to late October.

Queen Anne’s Pocket Melon. An heirloom variety of melon that became popular in the American South. This tiny melon literally fits inside a pocket and has lovely yellow and orange stripes. It has been around since Victorian times and was prized for its sweetness.

Refrigeration. Once melons have been cut the key to their preservation lies in refrigeration. Melons should be peeled, sliced into the desired shape, and stored in an airtight container. They can be refrigerated up to one week. However, uncut melons should be stored at room temperature to preserve their sweetness.

Seeds. Melon seeds are known as magaz in India. Magaz are considered a health food and are a popular addition to different recipes including panjiri, a hearty dish of nuts and seeds given to new moms for six weeks after childbirth.

Melon Seeds

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Tacuinum Sanitatis. The first colour sketches of watermelons appeared in this medieval medical manuscript. 

Tacuinum Sanitatis old medieval illustration

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Uzbekistan. Home to the world famous Khorezm melon since the 13th century. Back then, the region was known as Khorem and Fergana. Khorezm melons were very coveted in places as far away as China and India. Local farmers would dry melon slices under the summer sun in preparation for export. Dried melon is still widely used in India.

Vitamins. Did you know all varieties of melons are rich in vitamins A and C? Melons are also rich in minerals like potassium, iron, calcium, and magnesium. A one-cup serving (177g) of cantaloupe contains a whopping 108% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C.

Winter melon. Also known as ash gourd or wax gourd, this type of melon is popular across India and China. It has a pale green skin and mild flavor. Its long shelf life makes it readily available during the winter months.

Xigua. Watermelons are known in China as xigua (pronounced she-gwah). This Mandarin Chinese word refers to watermelons that are smaller and rounder than those popular in the United States.  

Yellow Crimson. A variety of watermelons bred to have a yellow interior and a honey-like flavor. Makes a nice addition to gourmet fruit salads or melon salads.

Zucca melon. A giant gourd believed to have originated in Sicily. Zucca melons are so large they can weigh up to 100 pounds. It is treated like a vegetable and prepared in the same fashion as zucchini or pumpkin.

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