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The Arus melon is almost perfectly spherical and small to medium in size. Its rind is covered in an intricate net-like pattern with dark to light green undertones and highly aromatic. In fact, the denser its net pattern, the richer its fragrance. The inner flesh is a vibrant, bright green color, and when fully ripe, highly perfumed with tropical notes and a sweet juicy consistency. When the melon bottom is soft and yields to slight pressure it is ready to be eaten.
Arus melons are available year-round, with peak season in the summer.
The Arus melon is a Japanese variety of Cucumis melo that has long been cherished by many cultures throughout east Asia. Categorized as a musk melon due to its intensely sweet aromatics, the Arus melon is grown year-round in greenhouses and cared for with great detail so as to cultivate the most pristine fruits. The picture-perfect melons, considered luxury fruits, can sell for as much as $38 US dollars when exported to Hong Kong and surrounding markets.
Arus melons are a good supply of folate, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, vitamins A, C and K, and dietary fiber.
Arus melons can be used as a substitute for honeydew and other sweet 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. Their floral sweetness balances well against tart, spicy, and salty ingredients. Complimentary flavors include, basil, mint, cilantro and arugula, lemons and limes, chiles, nuts, ginger, vanilla, proscuitto, figs and grapes. Whole Arus melons will keep, refrigerated, for up to seven days.
In China, a practice known as lai see, which translates to red envelope, entails giving a small gift of money during holidays or special occasions such as weddings, graduation or the birth of a baby. Often, preciously cared for luxury fruits, especially Japanese-grown musk melons like the Arus, take the place of money is these customary exchanges.
Native to Japan, the Arus melon is a prized export and integral part of the local fruit gifting culture. The melons are painstakingly cultivated under precise conditions in sophisticated greenhouses and the vines are often pruned to produce only one or two fruits. During their Mid-Autumn festival, Lunar New Year, Mother's Day and Valentine's Day large displays of Arus melons and other similar cultivars are arranged in Japanese grocery stores.