- Melon: benefits
- Potential risks of eating melon
- Intestinal infection and poisoning
- Calories content
- Melons: the best varieties
- The use of melon in cooking
- Melon: recipes
- Melon with prosciutto
- Gazpacho with melon
- Melon with salt
- How to choose and store
Melon (lat. Cucumis melo) is a plant of the pumpkin family (Cucurbitaceae), a species of the genus Cucumber (Cucumis). The historical homeland of the melon is Central and Asia Minor. The first mention is found in the Bible.
1 serving of melon (150 g) contains about 50 kcal, 0.3 fat, 13 g carbohydrates, 12 g sugar, 1.4 g fiber, 1.3 g protein.
Just 1 serving of this fruit can provide almost 100% of the daily requirement for vitamin A, 95% for vitamin C, 1% for calcium, 2% for iron, and 5% for vitamin K. Melon also contains vitamin B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid) and other compounds useful for the body.
It is rich in antioxidants, including choline, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. These compounds, in turn, reduce the risk of developing a variety of diseases.
The antioxidant zeaxanthin in the fruit improves the filtering of harmful sun rays. Thus, it plays a protective role against the eyes and reduces macular degeneration damage (Maneli Mozaffarieh, 2003). It is also believed that eating melon (3 or more servings per day) helps reduce the risk of progression of age-related macular degeneration.
It is a seasonal product famous for its sweet taste and rich aroma and its beneficial properties, and the many vitamins it contains.
- Strengthens the immune system
How is it beneficial? Melon stimulates red blood cells and revitalizes the immune system, rich in beneficial vitamin C. It is also rich in potassium and protects the cardiovascular system.
- Prevents cancer
It contains high amounts of beta-carotene and vitamin C, which effectively fight cancer and neutralize free radicals in the body.
- Helps fight stress
The fetus helps to normalize the heart rate, which increases the supply of oxygen to the brain, allowing the nervous system to relax.
- Protects lung health
Smoking causes a decrease in the level of vitamin A in the body. Melon restores its quantity and has the ability to reduce lung damage. Besides, its aroma eliminates the unpleasant smell of tobacco.
- Relieves insomnia
Melon contains ingredients that calm the nerves and reduce anxiety.
- Ideal ingredient for a diet
This product is high in calories and contains fiber that makes it easy to lose weight. It can suppress hunger naturally and for a long time. It also doesn’t cause bloating by taking up too much stomach space like other foods containing too much fiber.
- Good for gut health
Regular consumption of melon can help maintain intestinal health. The seeds can help get rid of intestinal worms. It is also useful during pregnancy due to the content of vitamin C, beta-carotene.
Potential risks of eating melon
In general, melon consumption is not associated with health risks for most people. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, melons have been linked to foodborne outbreaks over the past 10-15 years. Most of these cases are caused by bacterial infections caused by salmonella or E. coli.
Several deaths of listeriosis have been reported. In one analysis published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection in 2006, researchers found 25 melon-related outbreaks between 1973 and 2003. Outbreaks of infection have affected more than 1,600 people. However, the researchers believe that the number of cases was more significant since not all victims sought medical help.
Intestinal infection and poisoning
Similar outbreaks of intestinal infection when eating melon may be associated with the fact that the fruit, during growth and ripening, is in direct contact with the ground, from where bacteria can enter it along with soil, water, or animals. Moreover, melons and gourds have a coarse and thick enough crust where bacteria can settle.
The bacteria can also enter the melon when cut with a knife in contact with the fruit’s rind. If you continue to use the same knife, then the bacteria from the crust enter the fruit pulp. Food poisoning is not the only risk when consuming melon. Some individuals are allergic to ragweed pollen. When eating melon, these individuals may develop the oral allergic syndrome, which manifests itself in sore throat, itchy lips, and even swelling of the tongue, the mucous membrane of the mouth and throat.
These reactions occur when the immune system recognizes the similarity of ragweed pollen allergens to the melon’s proteins. In addition to melons and gourds, individuals who are allergic to ragweed pollen may also be sensitive to kiwi, bananas, cucumbers, and zucchini).
100 grams of cantaloupe melon contains only 34 calories. There are 36 calories in 100 grams of cantaloupe.
Melons: the best varieties
For growing melons, people choose a place well lit by the sun, protected from cold winds. The most popular varieties are:
- Caribbean Gold
- Collective farmer
- Piel de Sapo
- Yakup Bey
The use of melon in cooking
It is most often used as a stand-alone product. The fruit is usually served in between meals. The melon is dried and frozen. They make preserves, jams, marmalades.
It is marinated often and also used in the form of juices, cocktails, and ice cream. In Mediterranean countries, the fruit can be served alongside ham or shrimp. In Italy, it is often used with cheeses such as mozzarella.
Melon is often added to various types of salads, such as fruit salad.
You can cook both mouth-watering desserts with melon, use it with meat in cold appetizers, add to salads, and even eat it with salt.
Melon with prosciutto
- 100 g prosciutto, thinly sliced 9 slices
- 1/2 cantaloupe or other sweet melon, cut into pieces
Peel the melon, cut in half lengthways, remove the seeds and cut into slices. Arrange prosciutto slices (pre-cut them into thin slices) and melons on a platter or directly on separate plates. Another option is to wrap the melon slices in strips of prosciutto. If the fruit isn’t sweet enough, brush it lightly with runny honey.
Gazpacho with melon
- 450 g melon
- tomato, coarsely chopped
- greenhouse cucumber, peeled, coarsely chopped
- jalapeno, seeds removed, pepper sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
- salt, pepper
- ¼ glasses of almonds
- 30 grams of feta
- ¼ glasses of sour cream
- 3 tablespoons whole of the milk
- olive oil (for serving)
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Mix the fruit, tomato, cucumber, jalapeno, oil, and vinegar mixture in a blender until smooth. Transfer the gazpacho to a large bowl and season with salt and pepper—cover and cool.
Preheat oven to 350 ° C. Toast the almonds on a preheated baking sheet until golden brown. Chop finely. Pound feta in sour cream in a small bowl until smooth, then mix with milk.
Place the fruit and cucumber slices in bowls, top with gazpacho. Top with dressing, sprinkle with almonds, drizzle with oil, season with sea salt and pepper.
Melon with salt
- Melon, sliced
- 1 lemon, halved
- 2 tablespoons of flaked sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of smoked sea salt
- 1 tablespoon of pepper
- 1 tablespoon of crushed pink pepper
Place the melons on a platter and squeeze the lemon. Place the salts and spices in separate small bowls and serve with the melons to sprinkle on.
How to choose and store
Choosing a ripe fruit can be tricky as we cannot see it from the inside. Dr. Manjieri believes that the melon’s sweetness depends on the degree of its freshness; the fresher the fruit, the sweeter it is.
Take it in your hands, and if it seems heavier to you than you expected, then it is ripe. Ripe fruit has a special aroma, and its rind is slightly pliable when pressed with the thumb. If you have not bought a melon that is ripe enough, you can leave it to ripen for several days.
However, please do not wash the melon until you are ready to cut it. This prevents bacterial growth and premature spoilage of the product. Even though the melon will become softer and juicier over time, it will not add sweetness since it has already been plucked from the garden. It will not be possible to store such a capricious fruit like a melon for a long time without special conditions. If there are no conditions to store the melon in the cellar or basement, it is better to process it into jam, candied fruit immediately.
Check out the video with the overview on how to tell if a melon is ready to harvest: