There’s more to melon than watermelon and cantaloupe. With different flavors, aromas, textures and colors, these juicy fruits are ripe for varying your summer salads, soups and more.
Here is a primer on some exotic varieties and tips for mixing them into your meals:
The Crenshaw Melon is spherical in shape, with a slightly flattened bottom and a yellowish-green hard rind. The peach-colored flesh is a balance of sweet — actually known to be one of the sweetest melons around — with a hint of spice. A great source ofvitamins A, B6 and C, the Crenshaw can be used in a similar way to cantaloupe. Chop to combine with fresh mozzarella balls, honey, lime juice and mint. Grill on a skewer with pineapple and mango. In a salad, pair it with cured meats.
Shaped like an oval, the Canary Melon has a smooth skin. The rind is hard, with a bright yellow color, and the flesh is ivory, similar in color and texture to a ripe pear. Tangy and a little sweet, it bears scents of banana and pineapple. An excellent source of vitamins A and C and fiber, the Canary matches well with ginger, honey and citrus. Cube and freeze it to blend into sorbet or granita. Serve it in chunks over peppery arugula, crunchy almonds and fresh basil.
Galia Melon has an orange-yellow skin with a tannish-gold netting and succulent, pale green flesh. The flavor is known to be spicy sweet with a tropical aroma. To determine if a Galia is ripe, look at the color and smell for a musky aroma. They’re a strong source of vitamins A and C, vitamin A, and minerals such as potassium, calcium, and iron, as well as dietary fiber. Serve Galia fresh, tossed with cucumber, zucchini, olives, onion and lemon juice, or added to your fruit salad.
Santa Claus Melons look like smaller versions of watermelons, with a football-like shape. They are also known as a Christmas melon or piel de sapo, which is Spanish for “toadskin.” This melon originated in Spain. Mildly sweet, Santa Claus melon is succulent with a pale green-white flesh, similar to a honeydew. Blend it with almond milk, stevia and vanilla for a sweet melon smoothie. Use it in desserts, such as tarts and sorbets. In a salad, pair it with creamy goat cheese and a citrus vinaigrette.
Golden Hami Melon
A melon that’s large like a watermelon, Golden Hami Melons are hard with a golden yellow skin and a light netting. Their pale coral flesh is crisp, juicy and sweet. Serve wedges of Golden Hami with thinly sliced prosciutto. Use it in cooking as an ingredient for a coconut milk curry with Thai red curry paste.
The Casaba Melon is bright yellow in color, round with a slight point at the top and can be identified by its deep wrinkles. Inside, the flesh of the casaba melon is a light whitish yellow and juicy with mildly sweet flavor. Casaba melon will add sweetness to fruit salads and drinks.
Sharlyn Melons are an oval shape with a yellowish-orange color and light netting. Their skin is thin skin with a tender, sweet white flesh. They add sweetness when served raw in fruit salads or in fruit platters. Blend into a refreshing drink, such as fruit punch, a margarita or daiquiri. Try it with a sprinkle of ginger, salt, or a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.