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Tigger melons are a small varietal that only reaches about half a kilogram in weight and has a round to oval shape with uniformly curved ends. The melon's skin is semi-thick, taut, smooth, and hard, showcasing a vibrant mottled and variegated striping. Tigger melons transform from dark and light green striping to a bright orange, crimson, to golden yellow hue, and each melon will have varying striping and degree of saturated coloring, depending on cultivation. Underneath the surface, the ivory flesh is firm, dense, and aqueous with a crisp, succulent consistency. The flesh also encases a central cavity filled with cream-colored oval seeds suspended in a mixture of gelatinous liquid and white fibers. Tigger melons are known for their permeating fragrance, said to smell sweet, fruity, and nectar-like. Contrasting the heady aroma, the flesh is very mild, subtly sweet, and somewhat muted, reminiscent of the neutrality of Asian pears.
Tigger melons are available in the summer.
Tigger melons, botanically classified as Cucumis melo, are an heirloom variety belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family. The small muskmelon cultivar matures in approximately 85 to 90 days and grows on a climbing vine, able to be sown on the ground or a trellis. Tigger melons are a specialty type of melon not commercially produced due to their small size and mild flavor. Despite lacking commercial recognition, Tigger melons are a favorite home garden variety. They are grown by melon enthusiasts for the melon's bright coloring, prolific nature, and perfumed, intoxicating aroma. Tigger melons are personal-sized and have a neutral, sweet flavor primarily consumed fresh with other flavorful ingredients.
Tigger melons are a source of vitamin C to strengthen the immune system while reducing inflammation, potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, and fiber to regulate the digestive tract. The melons also provide beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body to maintain healthy organ functioning, folate to produce red blood cells, magnesium to control optimal muscle functioning, and other nutrients, including phosphorus, calcium, copper, zinc, and vitamin K.
Tigger melons have a mild, refreshing flavor suited for fresh preparations. The melons are often considered a secondary ingredient in dishes to add texture more than flavor, but the variety can be incorporated into sweet or savory recipes. Tigger melons are popularly sprinkled with salt or sugar to add more flavor and are consumed straight out of hand, or they can be halved and filled with other fruits, cottage cheese, or yogurt as a light breakfast dish. Tigger melons are known for their unusually striped rind and can be hollowed and used as a small bowl in recipes. The flesh can also be added to fruit and green salads, sliced and wrapped in salty meats, or balled and mixed with herbs as an aromatic side. In addition to cutting the melons, the flesh can be blended into smoothies and shakes or pressed and strained into juice for sparkling beverages, cocktails, and fruit drinks. The melons can also be incorporated into sauces, sorbets, and ice cream or used to flavor desserts, pastries, and puddings. Tigger melons pair well with cheeses such as halloumi, feta, mozzarella, and goat, fruits such as pineapples, watermelon, apples, and coconut, chocolate, vanilla, and herbs including basil, mint, and cilantro. Whole, unopened Tigger melons can be stored at room temperature until ripe. Once mature, the melons should be stored in the refrigerator for one week. Sliced Tigger melons can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge and should be consumed within 1 to 3 days.
Tigger melons are also labeled as Tiger melons among some growers, a name given for the melon's striped rind. The brightly colored orange and yellow stripes are reminiscent of the predatory feline native to Asia, and each melon will have its own unique striping pattern and coloring, just like tigers. Depending on how you pronounce Tigger, a few home gardeners in the United States prefer to say the name similarly to the name of the beloved A.A. Milne character. Tigger was a stuffed tiger in the 1928 story entitled The House at Pooh Corner. This book was the sequel to the famous 1926 children's book, Winnie-the-Pooh, and the fictional character Tigger bore the brightly colored striping.
Tigger melons are believed by experts to be native to Armenia. Much of the variety's history is unknown, but some records mention the melons being found in mountain valleys near the Tigris River. Tigger melons are thought to be an open-pollinated variety that was discovered growing in a field. The seeds were selected and cultivated as a new type of melon, and over time, the striped melon was spread to neighboring regions through trade routes and traveling merchants. Tigger melons were noticed in local Armenian markets and were introduced to American growers through Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Today Tigger melons are a rare variety not commercially produced. The melons are grown in home gardens as a novelty and are found in regions throughout Europe, Central Asia, and the United States.
Recipes that include Tigger Melon. One is easiest, three is harder.
|David Lebovitz||Frozen Melon Margaritas|
|Dirty Laundry Kitchen||Melon Salad with Grilled Halloumi|
|Dhanggit's Kitchen||Melon Raspberry Ice-Cream|