Malaysian Rock Melon
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Malaysian Rock melons are spherical to slightly oblong and average 5 pounds in weight. Their exterior rind is tan with a dusty green tinge and covered in a beige netting. When sliced open, they reveal an inner orange flesh that looks like other typical cantaloupe varieties, but offer a somewhat firmer texture. They are moderately aromatic with tropical floral notes and are very sweet, averaging a sugar level of 11 on the Brix meter.
Rock Melons have a spring and fall harvest in their native home of Malaysia.
Malaysian Rock melon are a variety of Cucumis melo that are very closely related to the domestic cantaloupe. What sets them apart is not only their slightly different texture and flavor, but their unique style of cultivation adopted in their native home of Malaysia. The melons are most often grown vertically on trellised climbing vines, rather than spreading out horizontally across the ground. Gardens as small as 40×80 sq ft can produce upwards of 3,300 pounds of fruit in less than three months.
Malaysian Rock melons are rich in vitamins A, B6 and C. They also supply potassium, niacin and folate.
Malaysian Rock melons are eaten similarly to other cantaloupe style melons. They are generally used in raw preparations in their native home of Malaysia, either simply sliced with a squeeze of lime or blended into a juice-like beverage. A common dessert found in Malaysia combines sago, a tapioca like starch, with palm sugar and coconut cream. The pudding is topped with Rock melon or other tropical fruits.
Rock melons are a lucrative export for many Malaysian farmers. They are exceptionally expensive in Japan where they are considered ‘high class fruits’ and can be sold for as much as $60 UD dollars apiece. They are often sold near hospitals where they are purchased as gifts because in the Japanese culture, it is preferred to offer an edible gift rather than flowers.
As the name implies, Malaysian Rock melons are primarily grown in Malaysia, both on the peninsula and on the island of Borneo. A popular method of cultivating the Rock melons is through fertigation, which involves a system of delivering nutrients dissolved directly into the irrigation lines. The vines are trained vertically along the irrigation hoses into a sort of ‘melon tree’ where they are suspended from trellises above. This allows maximum yield even in the smallest of growing spaces.