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Sakata’s Sweet Green melon is a smaller, softball-sized melon with a grey-green skin that turns a yellow-green color when ripe. The shape is not quite round, with a distinct pucker at the stem base. Whereas most melon stems will detach from the plant when ripe, the stem of the Sakata’s Sweet Green melon must be cut from the plant when leaves begin to discolor. The edible skin of the heirloom melon is thin and the yellow-green flesh is crisp and fragrant. Sakata’s Sweet Green melon looks much like a honeydew melon in coloring and has a similar flavor profile. The flesh is juicy with a texture that can be somewhat grainy.
Sakata’s Sweet Green melons are available year-round in sub-tropical and tropical areas with a peak season during the summer months.
Sakata’s Sweet Green melons are an heirloom variety of Cucumis melo that have grown in China and Japan for thousands of years. The small melons were bred by the Sakata Seed Co. of Japan, taking its name from the company. In the United States, the melons can be found in Asian markets as “Asian Green melon”.
Sakata’s Sweet Green melon is often eaten fresh, whether sliced or cut into cubes. The melon is used for pickling in Asia and its flavor lends a sweetness to chicken curry salads. Cut into wedges for a sweet summer snack or into bite-sized pieces to add to fruit or savory salads. Melon will keep at room temperature for up to a week once ripe. Cut melon should be kept refrigerated and consumed within four days.
Only recently appearing in American markets, Sakata’s Sweet Green melons were grown in Japan and China for centuries. The seeds for this heirloom melon were released by the Sakata Seed Co. in Yokohama, Japan. The seeds have found a market with home gardeners in both the United States and abroad.