General info about Fruit
Muskmelon refers to the many cultivars of Cucumis melo, and is one of the broader group of fruits grown and traded as melons. It is an accessory fruit of a type that botanists call a false berry. It was first cultivated more than 4000 years ago (circa 2000 BC) in Persia and Africa. The varied cultivars produced have been divided into multiple cultivar groups.
Ways to prepare and serve the Fruit
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.
Edible Uses: Oil.
Fruit - raw. Very watery but with a delicate flavour, it is very refreshing. Rich in vitamins B and C. The flesh of the fruit can be dried, ground into a powder and used with cereals when making bread, biscuits etc. The size of the fruit varies widely between cultivars but is up to 10cm long and 7cm wide. Seed - raw. Rich in oil with a nutty flavour but very fiddly to use because the seed is small and covered with a fibrous coat. The seed contains between 12.5 - 39.1% oil. An edible oil is obtained from the seed.
Health Benefits and Warnings of eating Fruit
Antitussive; Digestive; Diuretic; Emetic; Expectorant; Febrifuge; Stomachic; Vermifuge.
The fruits can be used as a cooling light cleanser or moisturiser for the skin. They are also used as a first aid treatment for burns and abrasions. The flowers are expectorant and emetic. The fruit is stomachic. The seed is antitussive, digestive, febrifuge and vermifuge. When used as a vermifuge, the whole seed complete with the seed coat is ground into a fine flour, then made into an emulsion with water and eaten. It is then necessary to take a purge in order to expel the tapeworms or other parasites from the body. The root is diuretic and emetic.
The subspecies Cucumis melo melo includes numerous interfertile cultivar groups (sometimes as varieties) classified as follows:
Cantalupensis group includes the European “cantaloupe” with skin that is rough and warty, not netted. This melon is not cultivated in North America. It is grown in South Africa, where it is called the spanspek. Listed sometimes as Cucumis melo cantalupensis.
Chito group is the “garden melon”’. Also known as the “chate” of Egypt, “mango melon”, “lemon melon”, “orange melon”, “apple melon”, or “vine peach”. Referred to sometimes asCucumis melo melo chito.
Conomon group is the “oriental pickling melon”; it is also known as the “Sweet melon”, “Chekiang melon”, or “Chinese white cucumber”.
Dudaim group is the “apple melon” (although see Chito group above); it is also known as the “fragrant melon”, “pocket melon”, “Queen Anne’s pocket melon”, “vine pomegranate”, “plum granny”, and “dudaim melon”. Listed sometimes within Cucumis melo melo var. chito.
Flexuosus group is the “Azerbaijanian cucumber”; also known as the “snake melon”, “serpent cucumber”, “snake cucumber”, “serpent melon”, or “Oriental cucumber”.
Inodorus group includes “honeydew melon” (aka “honeydew”), “crenshaw melon”, “casaba melon” (aka “casaba”), Hami melon, Piel de Sapo, “winter melon”, “American melon”, “fragrant melon”, or “Oriental sweet melon”. These have smooth rinds and do not have a musky odor. It is the third most popular type of melon, after the watermelon and cantaloupe. Honeydew has a smooth, white rind and sweet green flesh. When eaten, the texture is similar to a reticulated cantaloupe, but the flavor more subtle and sweeter. Classified sometimes as Cucumis melo inodorus.
Makuwa Group is the “Japanese cantaloupe”.
Reticulatus Group includes the “netted melon”, “winter melon”, and ““North American” cantaloupe”. Other common names are the “nutmeg melon” and “Persian melon”. “Muskmelon” is also sometimes used to refer to this type in particular.These are the most popular melons cultivated in commerce. They are classified as Cucumis melo melo var. cantalupensis by some authors. This group includes the recently rediscovered Montreal melon.
The culture of honeydew and cantaloupe requires a good deal of readily available water for irrigation, and long, hot summers. These melons are susceptible to fungal infections by fusarium and verticillium wilts, as well as a bacterial wilt transmitted by the cucumber beetle.
Various kinds of melon seeds are edible, and are sold as snacks in shops, by names as kwaci and kwatji. For this purpose, they are dried and often salted. The names come from Chinese 瓜子 guāzi; they are a very common snack food in China.
Recipes made mainly with this Fruit
Cantaloupe melons are a good source of potassium, vitamin A and folate. They are helpful to the kidneys and are a useful laxative. North American cantaloupes are the most beta-carotene-rich of all melons and are also high in vitamin C.
Honeydew melons contain few nutrients and modest amounts of potassium but almost no vitamin A.