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Melon for good health

Melons are a good source of vitamin C and potassium. They have high water content, are relatively low in calories, and also fat and cholesterol free. And, therefore, very good for health and especially ideal for weight watchers.

Origin

Melons come in a number of varieties and many of them originated in the Middle East and its popularity gradually spread across Europe. Ancient Egyptians and Romans enjoyed cantaloupes or muskmelons. Melon seeds were then transported to the United States by Columbus and eventually cultivated by Spanish explorers in California.

What are melons

Melons belong to the same gourd family as squashes and cucumbers. But there is a difference between them. Squashes are considered vegetables, while melons are fruits with sweet and juicy flavour. 

Varieties

Melon varieties are now many. But among them cantaloupe or musk melon, honeydew and watermelon are the most eaten varieties.

How to select

In general, melons are shaped according to their variety. Muskmelons should be round. In addition, they should not have cracks, soft spots, or dark bruises. Also look for a clean and smooth break at the stem and remember that most mature melons have a fruity fragrance. 

Preparation

Always wash melons in warm soapy water before cutting so that any impurity that may be sticking to the peel may not be carried from the knife blade to the flesh. Having done that just halve the melon and scoop out the seeds and strings and then further cut into cubes or slices. Melons can also be scooped into balls with a melon baller. Most melons will benefit from a squeeze of lemon juice which enhances the flavour.  Melons should always be served at room temperature.

Culinary uses

Melons can be added to salads or used to make cold fruit soups. Sliced melons make great garnishes. You can serve melon balls with vanilla ice cream – believe me they make a great dessert. Drizzle melon cubes with non-alcoholic syrups like hazelnut or orange. They can also be used to make delicious fruit kababs.