It’s that time of year again when the melons are ripe, the price for them is great, and a bit of fruit juice running down your chin after that the first juicy bite is totally acceptable and downright savored.
But after visiting my local farmers market and the supermarket over the past few weeks, I’ve seen firsthand the tons and tons of melon varieties available. It is then that I realized I am a melon bore.
Being gluten-free I have found that my diet, at times, can be quite limited. That’s why I always love to try new foods whenever possible. But for some funny reason I find myself reaching for, squeezing, and only purchasing the three basic melons that have been in my life since my childhood: Watermelon, Cantaloupe and Honeydew.
This summer I decided to “break out of the same old rind”, broaden my melon-knowledge and get myself out of this melon-slump. My goal: To try as many new types of melon as possible. And to assist all of you gluten-free, melon-seeking folks that would also like to partake on this journey I have put together the following “Melon 101”:
Watermelon: The juiciest and most popular melon in the United States, this melon is 92% water (hence, the name)! A cousin to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash, the redder the flesh the sweeter the taste. They come in tons of varieties, including seeded, seedless and even a personal size watermelon. Want to find out some fun watermelon facts? Check out the National Watermelon Board for tons of “everything watermelon” information!
Cantaloupe: To contain the juices avoid cutting into this thick netted skinned melon, until just ready to eat. Very juicy, and so sweet, this melon is a favorite served in fruit salads and breakfast buffets. Not sure when a cantaloupe is ripe? Look for one that is heavy for its size!
Honeydew: There are two types of honeydew melons – one with green flesh and the other with orange flesh. Perfect for those on a gluten-free diet that are watching their weight (ahummm – that would be me!) these low-calorie melons contain no fat, no sodium and are high in vitamin C. I like to cut honeydews in half, scoop out the flesh and use the shell as a “salad bowl” filled with a nice diced chicken and melon salad.
Crenshaw: With a salmon colored orangish-pink flesh, Crenshaw melons make a statement in any salad or dessert. Slightly spice and fragrant, they are a great addition to a fruit salads too.
Santa Claus: This mild flavored melon resembles a small watermelon at first glance. The green flesh is similar to the honeydew melon, but not as sweet. Perfect for melon salsas, chutneys and fruit salads.
Casaba: This pumpkin shaped melon with a thick, hard, grooved rind has a unique mild cucumber flavor. I love this melon chopped in a salad instead of using cucumber!
Canary: With a firm & crisp whitish to light green flesh, this melon is shaped like a football. While it is not as sweet as many other melons, it is still great for snacking and tossing in salads.