Santa Claus Melon
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Santa Claus melons resemble a small football-shaped watermelon. Its flesh is pale green to white in color and has a succulent texture with a mildly sweet flavor. The color of its hard shell will be varying shades of green and yellow depending upon variety. Typically the brighter the yellow of the melon rind, the riper and sweeter it is. Its exterior skin is wrinkled, a distinguishing feature of the Santa Claus melon. Its fragrance is subtle as a result of its thick skin. Unlike many other melons, it will not release a signifying aroma when ripe. The ripest Santa Claus melon will have a soft blossom end that yields to gentle pressure and its skin will be a vibrant yellow hue.
Santa Claus melon season is late spring and summer. During the winter months, Santa Claus melons are shipped from South America.
The Santa Claus melon is a Casaba type, botanically classified as Cucumis melo inodorus. A member of the Cucurbitaceae family it is a winter melon variety along with honeydew, Crenshaw, Casaba and Canary. Melons of the winter or inodorus group require a longer time on the vine to fully ripen and also are known for their thick rinds, characteristics which allow the melons of this group to keep until the winter or Christmas months. Also known as Piel de Sapo and Christmas melon the Santa Claus melon received its name as a nod to the melons characteristics unique to the inodorus group.
The Santa Claus melon can be used in a variety of fresh preparations and in most recipes where melon is called for. Its sweet flesh lends itself to dessert preparations such as fruit salads, tarts, sorbets and sauces. Its consistency breaks down to make an excellent puree which complements chilled gazpacho like soups, smoothies and cocktails. The flavor of Santa Claus melon pairs well with cured meats, creamy cheeses, mint, basil, cilantro, citrus juice and zest, fruity olive oil and tomatoes. Use in fresh salads or appetizers. An excellent keeper the Santa Claus melon will keep refrigerated, for up to two months.
In Spanish, Piel de Sapo translated to “skin of a toad”, a name which is reflective of the melons unique rind coloring and texture.
The Santa Claus melon is a casaba type, a variety of melon which is native to Turkey. It is cultivated in South America, Spain, Brazil and in America in California and Arizona. A variety of Santa Claus melon known as Piel de Sapo originated in Spain and on average the country produces 30,000 hectares of the melons annually. The Santa Claus melon thrives in warm climates and like many other winter melons takes longer to reach maturity than most melons, needing a full 110 frost free days on the vine.
Recipes that include Santa Claus Melon. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Sippity Sup||Melon Caprese Salad|
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