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The Ogen melon has the initial appearance of a cantaloupe with a cornflower yellow netted rind and lime green longitudinal grooves running from stem to blossom end. When ripe, the pale green flesh is succulent and sticky sweet with intoxicating aromatics of tropical fruit and flora. The flesh bears a pulpy, easily removed central seed cavity. Typically Ogen melons grow to be softball size with weights of three to five pounds.
Ogen melons are available during the summer season.
The Ogen melon is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, along with cucumbers, gourds, squashes and pumpkins. The Ogen melon is a true muskmelon variety and an open-pollinated heirloom melon botanically known as Cucumis melo reticulatus. There are several cultivars of melons that all fall into the variety name, Ogen, aka Ha'Ogen and Desert melon. Another common name for the Ogen melon is Israel cantaloupe, citing its origins.
The Ogen melon is a versatile summer fruit. It can be eaten fresh out of hand, added to salads both savory and sweet, used in fruit ices and sorbets and blended into frozen cocktails. Complimentary pairings include figs, stone fruit, pancetta and proscuitto, goat cheese, ricotta and feta, hazelnuts, pistachios, arugula, basil, cilantro, vanilla, prawns, scallops, tomatoes, citrus and chiles. Select your melon carefully, looking for a specimen which feels heavy for its size and resounds with a rich hollow sound when tapped. Ogen melons will keep at room temperature for three to five days once fully ripe. Cut melon will keep in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic and is best consumed within three days.
The Ogen melon is native to Israel, cultivated and popularized in the early 1960's in a kibuttz (a collective community based on joint land ownership and agriculture). This particular kibuttz was named Ogen, hence the melon's name. The melons were developed from seeds brought to Israel from Hungary. Ogen melons yield best harvests in warm Mediterranean regions during hot dry summer months.
Recipes that include Ogen Melon. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Amelia Saltsman / Food||Melon and Cucumber Salad with Mint|
|Two Peas and Their Pod||Melon Salad with Mint, Lime, and Sea Salt|
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