Monday

Musing on melons

brings us to today's musings on melons. 
And, considering that melons and cucumbers are in the "same family" 
the Cucurbitaceae, it is appropriate to follow our cucumber post with one on melons. 
According to the Cambridge World History of Food
"Cucumber, melon, and watermelon plants
share many characteristics but also differ in important ways. 
As a group they are frost-sensitive annuals with trailing, tendril-bearing vines. 
The plants are mostly monoecious, the flowers are insect-pollinated, 
and the fruits are variously shaped, many-seeded berries."
watermelon vines behind "the fig"
cucumber vines at the farm
"Melons originated in Africa and southwest Asia, but they gradually 
began to appear in Europe toward the end of the Roman Empire. 
Melons were among the earliest plants to be 
domesticated in both the Old and New Worlds.
Early European settlers in the New World are recorded 
as growing honeydew and casaba melons as early as the 1600s."
melons growing in the Orchard beds at the farm

We have a variety of melons at the farm including cantaloupe, arava galia, charentais 
and of course watermelon (regular and yellow). 
All melons are delicious but it seems like watermelons are everyone's favorite. 
Watermelons make you instantly think of summer barbecues and picnics.
And it seems like watermelons are the only melon that
it is ok (well, actually preferred) to just pick up and eat a slice to enjoy!
"By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S., 
followed by cantaloupe and honeydew." 
We learned this from the "National Watermelon Promotion Board" 
(seriously, there is one-further proof of its universal popularity!).
 And where better than here at "watermelon.org" to find out pretty 
watermelon at the farm
our chefs love watermelons so much,
we grow them behind "the fig" too!
And, the first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt. 
And talking about having fun with a watermelon, this year we decided 
to try growing a square watermelon, which we'd heard about. 
We are doing this experiment with one of the watermelons growing behind "the fig."
Watch this video if you want to see how to grow a square watermelon (and why)
Whether you are growing a traditional watermelon (seedless or seeded), 
or a square one, or buying one at the Farmers Market, 
if you can resist just slicing it and eating it,
you'll want to know what to make with one, right? 
very popular heirloom tomato & watermelon salad
at the girl & the fig
photo by Steven Krause for
Plats du Jour: the girl & the fig's Journey Through the Seasons in Wine Country
In addition to our take on what to do with watermelon,
there are lots of other ideas out there.
Besides ones you might expect like watermelon frozen treats, how about watermelon sloppy Joes? Sounds odd but the savory/sweet thing just might surprise you.
The other thing that might surprise you is that 
even thought watermelons are 92% water, they have a lot of nutritional value.
But what you probably really want to know is how to pick a ripe melon
Choose a melon that seems heavy for its size and does not have bruises or soft spots.
Tap the melon with the palm of your hand. 
If you hear a hollow sound, it's passed the first test.
Next, push your fingers on the round section where the vine was attached. 
It should be slightly soft and fragrant.

For the best watermelon: 
look for a smooth, uniform rind and a hollow sound when slapped.
The rind should be dull, rather than shiny


And you can go beyond these basics for more 
did you know that the French charentais melons are
known as the "breakfast for 2" melon due to their smaller size?
Our bartenders like to get creative with melons also.
Try the "melon mash" made with melon, basil (both from the farm), 
gin, simple syrup, splash tonic.

What's your favorite melon?
And do you have any creative recipes to share?

3 comments:

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    1. Well, thanks so much! Will check this all out and thanks for following us!

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