Apr 13

All about melons

Now that summer is almost here, it is season for the summer fruits. I love the fruits that come in the summer-they are just so refreshing and cool. Its also wonderful to make fresh juices, slushes and smoothies with these wonderful fruits.

My favorites among the summer fruits are melons-be it watermelon, muskmelon or honeydew melon. Ever wonder what the difference is, and why they are so similarly named? Here is all you ever wondered and needed to know about melons.

Watermelon: This is the big, green melon that is red and juicy on the inside with a lot of small black seeds. For the most part, they are really sweet. Watermelons originated in Africa from where they spread to tropical and sub tropical regions.

Beautifully carved watermelon

Essentially, the main components of watermelons are natural sugar and water. Watermelons contain about 92% water. No wonder they are called ‘water’ melons. They are rich in electrolytes and they also contain vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. A 2 cup serving of watermelon is also a source of potassium, the deficiency of which can cause muscle cramps. Other minerals found in watermelons are magnesium and phosphorus. It is a very low calorie fruit yet rich in antioxidants and phyto nutrients. It also contains some other minerals such as iron and zinc.

Consuming watermelon is great to stay hydrated thanks to their water and electrolyte content. Chilled watermelon juice is an excellent summer cooler. Simply chop the watermelon into medium sized pieces and run it through the food processor. Sieve out the pulp if you prefer. Its also great to when weight watching, to have a slice of watermelon before eating. This fills the stomach without much calories, and helps you eat less.

Be careful of excess consumption of watermelon. It can cause digestive trouble as well as cardiovascular and nerve disorders.

Muskmelon: These are the smaller melons that are rough on the outside and orange on the inside. There are also some variants that are smooth and have lines on the outside and are green on the inside. Honeydew melons are green on the inside and have a pale green smooth surface.  Muskmelons are thought to have originated either from India or ancient Persia or Africa. Muskmelons are soft in consistency and have a juicy texture with a sweet, musky aroma that emanates best in the completely ripe fruits. So, this is a great way to select the best muskmelons.

Low in calories, this is an excellent yet delicious summer fruit. It is also rich in antioxidants that protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen-free radicals. Therefore, they help protect the body from colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers. It is also a good source of potassium, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure. They are an excellent source of vitamin A. Other nutrients include vitamin C and some B complex vitamins. It also contains manganese.

This should be preferably bought organic since the organic ones have a richer taste and better nutritional value. Fragrant and heavy ones are better. They should be stored refrigerated.

Muskmelons are eaten raw, or even cooked for some preparations. There are recipes for cantaloupe bread, salad, salsa and drinks among others.

The seeds of both watermelons and muskmelons are eaten as snacks. They can be roasted or sautéed. The seeds of muskmelons are often dried and then consumed.

That’s all about melons. I bet you didn’t know they had so much nutritional value. Now you can enjoy the sweet taste and rest assured you are doing good for your health! I am eagerly looking forward to enjoying them this summer!

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