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Arava melons are round to slightly oblong and average 3 to 4 pounds in weight. They have a thin netted rind that turns a golden shade of beige when fully ripe. The pale glacial green flesh surrounds a small loose central seed cavity and is perfumed with tropical fruit and floral aromatics. They have a tender yet firm texture and are extraordinarily juicy with an almost nectar-like consistency. When left at room temperature, Arava melons will continue to ripen after they are removed from the plant.
Arava melons are available during the summer season.
Arava melons are a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, a wide ranging important food plant family of traveling vines, including cucumbers, pumpkins and squashes. Scientifically classified as Cucumis melo reticulatus, they are a cultivar of galia melon which is a hybrid of cantaloupe and honeydew produced in Israel. Other common marketing names are Middle Eastern melon, Passport, Mediterranean or Israeli melons.
Arava melons are high in vitamin C, vitamin A, carotenoids, bioflavonoids, potassium, calcium, iron, dietary fiber and pectin.
Arava melons can be used as a substitute for honeydew melons. They are best suited for fresh eating in salads and appetizers or used as the principle ingredient in a chilled summer soup, granitas, sorbets and popsicles. The sweetness of Arava melons balances well against tart, spicy, and salty ingredients. Choice companions include herbs such as basil, mint, cilantro and arugula, lemons and limes, chiles, nuts such as pistachios and peanuts, ginger, vanilla, proscuitto, figs and grapes. Whole ripe Arava melons will keep, refrigerated, for up to seven days.
The word Arava translates to "desolate and dry area", and is derived from the Arabah (also spelled Arava) desert in Israel. However with recent innovations in desert agriculture, more and more produce is coming from the area. In fact, it has been said that Israel is the country that made the desert bloom.
The Arava melon is a notably high-yielding variety that is named for the long valley that traverses much of the desolate Negev Desert in southern Israel. It is a signature variety sold throughout markets in Israel, but is just one of many agricultural products coming out of the Arava Valley. Greenhouses cover the region growing everything from berries, to peppers and tomatoes. Arava melons thrive in temperate and warm regions throughout the Mediterranean and the Americas. They also grow well in hot, dry desert climates throughout the summer months.
Recipes that include Arava Melon. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Beard & Bonnet||Toddler Approved Gaila Melon Green Juice|
|Two Peas and Their Pod||Melon Salad with Mint, Lime, and Sea Salt|