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Persian melons look like a larger, rounder, heavily-netted, unridged cantaloupe. Its light, pistachio-grey rind turns a tan color when ripe. The melon's flesh is coral colored, aromatic and sweet. Its texture is buttery and firm. A perfectly ripe Persian melon will feel heavy for its size and release aromatics from its stem and blossom ends.
Persian melons are available mid spring through the summer.
The Persian melon is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family and botanically classified as Cucumis melo reticulatus along with muskmelons. The Persian melon is unique from many other varieties in the reticulatus group in that it does not slip from the vine when ripe.
Persian melons are best utilized in fresh preparations. They can be sliced, balled, pureed or when just ripe or slightly under ripe cut into ribbons. Persian melon puree can be used in sorbet, smoothies, pop-sickles or cold soups. Persian melon balls can be used fresh or frozen to enhance cocktails and juice. Their sweet flavor pairs well with citrus, mint, ginger, avocado, arugula, berries, robust cheeses and cured meats. To store, keep whole melons at room temperature. Cut melon will keep wrapped in plastic for up to three days.
Both inadvertently and deliberately discarded melon seeds have produced literally hundreds of different varieties. The Persian melon is an example. It was originally found growing wild in the area now known as Iran. Its unmistakable cantaloupe appearance speaks to the fact that it has seen countless new waves of evolution since its original plant was cultivated from the wild. Persian melon seeds first made their way to England in 1824 via the English Ambassador in Persia. The seeds were planted in the gardens of the English Horticultural Society. Later, Persian melon would from there make their way to the United States.
Recipes that include Persian Melon. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Sippity Sup||Melon and Cucumber Salad with Feta Cheese|
|The New York Times||Melon Pomegranate Almond Smoothie|
|My Persian Kitchen||Kharbozeh & Persian Melon Popsicle|