General Information: Melons actually belong to the squash family, and they can be classified in two ways: Muskmelons (sugar melons) and watermelons. Today, there are hundreds of sugar melon varieties to choose from, but all fall into two general categories: The netted skins, which include cantaloupes (with netted skins and named after Cantalupo near Rome); and smooth skins, which include honey melons, casabas and Crenshaw varieties. Perhaps the finest tasting melon is the Charentais variety from the Cavaillon region in France. During peak season, these melons can fetch a hefty price of up to CHF 10 per melon. Another charentais variety, which is lesser known, comes from the Pachino region in Sicily. Of the smooth skin varieties, the honeydew and the yellow honey melon are the most popular. As with most honey melon varieties, the flavor is less intense than the netted skin varieties. One exception is the Israeli Ogen melon, which is green in color, and has a very pleasant perfumed flavor.

Season: May until October

Purchasing Tips: Choose melons that are slightly soft at the blossom end, with a pleasantly sweet perfume. Under ripe melons will never attain their full flavor potential, so it is always better to purchase locally produced melons.

Storage: Keep in a cool location for several days.

Cooking Tips: Mostly consumed raw. Melons make a wonderfully refreshing soup in the summer.

Nutritional Info: Melons are 90% water, and large quantities of sugar. There are some minerals present, and decent amounts of Vitamins B and C.

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