Saturday, 2 January 2010

Summer Harvest; Melons;

Melon is a name given to various members of the Cucurbitaceae family with fleshy fruit. Melon can refer to either the plant or thefruit, which is a false berry. Many different cultivars have been produced, particularly of muskmelons. The plant grows as a vine. Although the melon is a fruit, some varieties may be considered "culinary vegetables".

History
The origin of the melon as we know it today is rather shrouded in mystery. Of a surety, they originated in Asia and Africa rather than in the US, and brought to England around the sixteenth century AD. Melons were first introduced to the New World by Columbus during his second expedition. They were part of rations aboard the ships to help prevent scurvy in sailors. Once his men had eaten them and discarded the seeds, the crop quickly took hold in Haiti and spread from there. Seeds were also brought to California by Spanish Conquistadors. Navajos were farming the fruit by the 1800s, from seeds brought from Latin America. However, melons did not gain prominence as a common food until it was brought again during the slave trade.


Its genus and species are both Cucunis. Within these groups, they are also distinguished by their Latin names into two groups, Cucumis (muskmelons), and Citrullus (watermelons.). Aside from these classifications, they are also separated into many varieties. Exactly how many varieties is unknown. The three most common are the watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew. The cantaloupe, also called a muskmelon, belongs to the Cucumis family. It has beige, netted skin and sweet orange flesh that is high in beta carotene.

Melons are a highly nutritious food. It has been touted for centuries that they have numerous medicinal properties. The seeds of cantaloupe were used in China to moderate fevers and the digestive system. Elsewhere, seeds were pulverized and used to treat tuberculosis. Cantaloupes are particularly beneficial to people with heart disease, as they contain large of amounts of an anticoagulant known as adenosine. They also contain high levels of potassium, which benefits those with high blood pressure. Due to their high water content, all melons are considered diuretics.

There is also evidence that suggests that consumption of melons can lower the risk of cancer. USDA researches have discovers that melons contain lycopene, an antioxidant found in a select group of fruits and vegetables. Lycopene treats and prevents cancer by trapping free-radicals in cells.

Member of the gourd and pumpkin family, melons are notoriously “promiscuous,” meaning that they must be kept separate from other melons due to the fact that they readily pollinate each other. They are not particularly hardy, nor are they very frail. They require about four months of warm weather, and like lots of direct sunlight. Unlike some vegetables, indoor germination with plans to transplant outside does not work well. Melons simply will not grow well that way. For best results, seeding them outdoors in early may works very well. Since they are a vine fruit, they require lots of space to spread out; some dwarf or midget varieties can do well in planters, such as large truck tires. No matter how you plant them, melons must be kept warm. If the temperatures drop below fifty regularly, the result will be small, bitter fruit. Two other requirements are fertile soil and lots of water. Good dirt is imperative to grow melons. These fruits also require copious amounts of water. However, as fruits grow nearer to harvest, it is recommended to cease watering for one week prior to picking. This will allow the sugars to develop.

excerpts curtesy wikipedia.

Home grown Melons are dripping with sweetness.

Photos TS

Believe it or not:
The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star.
(Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.)


22 comments:

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Oh, I love melons. Those look so good. I do not think I will ever get use to seeing your summers while we are into winter LOL. I am glad to see some wonderful pictures though to keep me while waiting for spring.

Pia K said...

amazing to have your own melons (well at least the edible kind;)! i love the melon flavour, so fresh and sweet and uplifting. it works so well not only the gorgeous fruit itself but in tea, ice-cream and skincare products i think. yum!

and happy new year! (i'm so glad you've found good use of the shopping bag, i hope it will continue to serve you well during 2010:)

lotusleaf said...

Such luscious melons! Thanks for all the information. Happy New Year!

Nicole said...

That melon looks so delectable-I can almost smell its wonderful fragrance.
All the est for 2010!

Mary Elizabeth said...

Wow and its so juicy!
Happy New Year!!!
Hugs

Mo said...

Gorgeous looking melons! My mouth is watering looking at them. :)

azplantlady said...

I love cantelope and watermelon. Not too fond of honeydew. Thank you for a very informative look at some of my favorite fruit.

Maria said...

Happy New Year, Titania! I do love melons very much, too. Must be nice to pick them in your own garden :))

Bangchik said...

I love melons... ours are the red flesh with green skin.... those are in abundance... ~bangchik

Kerri said...

Hello Trudi! Would you believe I was thinking of you just before your comment arrived in my inbox? :) Amazing eh? Thanks for stopping by and for the New Year wishes.
Those melons look scrumptious! I miss the deliciously sweet Australian fruit. It's harder to get good, sweet fruit here in the northeast. Not impossible, but Not as easy as in Oz.
I so much enjoyed your desert tour. Thanks very much for sharing all those wonderful places with us.
I wish you and your family health, happiness and abundant blessings in the New Year. xoxo

Stephanie said...

These melons must be super sweet and juicy! TQ for sharing the background of melons. Never knew melon (fruit!) is from the gourd family. Have a pleasant evening.

Jean Bradbury said...

We can't grow melons here in Seattle in our summer. How marvelous to have them in your garden. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Happy New Year.

Sue McGettigan said...

Oh if only I could pluck that melon from your photo to my plate!! It looks fabulous :)

Happy New Year!

sweet bay said...

Nothing tastes better on a hot day than a canteloupe. Happy New Year!

diane said...

You certainly have a green thumb. They look delicious. I have a big sprawling vine that grew out of kitchen scraps. I don't know what it is , maybe a cucumber.
We call those melons Rock Melon and we have some every morning on top of Bill's Bircher Muesli.

diane said...

Thankyou for giving me the name of my flowers...Pentas. The white one grew by itself. I assume from the seed of a neighbouring plant but they are red. However you have explained that for me. Thanks. They are hardy and colourful. The bougainvillea isn't really mine it hangs over the fence from my neighbour. They are pretty but too invasive and thorny for my garden.(Been there done that)

catmint said...

yummy canteloupes - the ones I buy are often tasteless, yours must be divine.Happy new year, and may 2010 be a fertile year for us fellow bloggers. Cheers, camtint

HappyMouffetard said...

How wonderful to be harvesting melons - I bet they taste gorgeous. We can barely grow them (except under cover) in the UK and with the weather how it is here at the moment, it seems a very long time away before we get warm weather again.

MedaM said...

I love melons very much and their wonderful flavour. These melons of yours looks so delicious, juicy and sweet.

ideas for boyfriend said...

Melons has always been part of my favourite fruits list. In fact, I envy you for having such huge melons in your backyard! I hope I get mine as well.

another run said...

The hot summer and a bowl of succulent melons is a prefect pair. :)

swimwear said...

Did you grow this in your backyard!? Impressive! I hope the weather here permits me to grow these melons.