muskmelon

This juicy fruit is one of two broad classes of melons, the other being watermelon. It’s been grown by the Chinese, Greeks, Romans and Egyptians for thousands of years. The two principal varieties of muskmelon are those with netted skins (including cantaloupe, persian melon and santa claus or Christmas melon), and those with smooth skins (such as casaba, crenshaw and honeydew melon). The skin can range in color from creamy white to celadon green to jade green, with many variations and shades in between. Flesh colors vary similarly and include beautiful salmon, golden, lime-green and orange shades. All muskmelons have seeds in a fibrous center hollow. Although muskmelons of one variety or another are available throughout most of the year, they’re most abundant from late summer to early fall. When ripe, most muskmelons are slightly soft at the blossom end and give off a sweet, perfumy odor. Those picked before they’re mature will never reach their delectably sweet and flavorful potential. Unripe melons should be stored at room temperature until they ripen, then kept in a cool place until ready to use. As with all melons, these should be halved and seeded before using. See also melon; spanish melon; winter melon.

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