As Australia has a wide variety of climatic conditions, Melons are available all year round.
Melons are fleshy fruit that are members of the Cucurbitaceae family and are thought to have originated in Mexico and Central America.
When ripe, the sweet juicy pulp is predominantly eaten fresh, however, the rind is sometimes preserved and seeds can be roasted as a snack or ground into an ingredient used in oils and sauces.
Melon plants are grown as a ground vine and depending on the cultivar, the shape of the fruit may change from oblong to round, the rind from light green to dark green, the flesh from red to yellow and the seeds from white to yellow, brown or black.
To choose whole, good quality rockmelons look for firm, blemish free skin with an even netting around the entire melon – and no surface damage or “bald” patches.
Whole, uncut good quality watermelons are firm and free of blemishes. If the part of the melon that was sitting on the ground, is distinctly white or yellow then the watermelon was picked when ripe.
When fresh watermelons are tapped with a finger they have a sharp ring. Cut watermelons have a solid flesh with a uniform crimson-red colour. Occasionally tiny white or black seeds may be present in seedless watermelons and in winter the flesh may be paler than in summer.
Fresh honeydew melons should have smooth, white/cream coloured waxy skin (when immature the fruit feels hairy). Some varieties have a slight aroma. The stem is clipped close to the fruit. To choose a ripe honeydew melon, the flower or blossom end (opposite the stem end) gives very slightly when you apply light thumb pressure.
Melons are some of the world’s best health foods. All melons are high in vitamins A and C, contain no fat and are a good source of fibre. Watermelons also contain lycopene (which scientists believe to be a valuable weapon against heart disease and cancer) and citrulline(which is believed to be able to reduce muscle pain and lower blood pressure).
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