As I do every Thursday morning, I chatted with Matt Swaim on the Sunrise Morning Show, Sacred Heart Radio. Today we talked about melons.
Melons, along with cucumbers and leeks, are mentioned in the Book of Numbers. A familiar passage is “ Num. 11:5 – We remember…. the cucumbers, and the melons….”
What kind of melons were eaten in Bible days and referred to in Scripture?
Most likely musk/mush melons (what we call cantaloupe) and watermelons. They were eaten, again, much like we eat them today: “as is” but often they were served with a dressing of spices, herbs, honey and vinegar.
In Bible times a drink was made of watermelon juice and was used for fevers, and a strong tea made by steeping the seeds in boiling water – that was used for bladder troubles.
Interestingly enough, they saved the seeds – they were roasted and salted, like we do with pumpkin seeds today.
Tips For Buying Melons
They might be mature, but not ripe. A ripe cantaloupe will have a yellowish cast to the rind, have a pleasant cantaloupe aroma, and yield slightly to light thumb pressure on the blossom end of the melon.
Hold them for two to four days at room temperature to allow completion of ripening.
The rind is firm and ranges from creamy white to creamy yellow, depending on the stage of ripeness. The stem does not separate from the fruit, and must be cut for harvesting.
Some fun facts from the PA Dept of Agriculture. Check out their site for more information on melons.
Girl vs boy
Did you know that there are boy and girl watermelons? Boys are bigger and shaped like an oval, they have a watery taste. Girls are smaller and circular; they are the sweeter of the two! (Girl power rules….).
Look for a very yellow sort of flat bottom called the field spot and “webbing” around the bottom. A yellow bottom means the melon has sat in the field, ripening nicely. The webbing actually looks like scarring to me – more webbing, more pollination of the flower by bees. That equals sweeter fruit.
Check out the photo..
Not too big, not too small. Average is best. And a ripe melon will be heavy for its size.
Smooth and slightly dull
The watermelon surface should be relatively smooth; the rind should have a slight dullness (neither shiny nor dull); the ends of the melon should be filled out.
WATERMELON OR CANTALOUPE POPSICLES
Great for the little ones – lots of vitamins!
4 cups chopped ripe watermelon or cantaloupe, seeds removed
2 tablespoons sugar or honey (if melon is sweet, no need to use)
Lime juice – start with 2 tablespoons
Process in blender until smooth, adding lime juice and, if necessary, a very small amount of water if needed so that mixture liquefies. Pour into popsicle molds, and freeze.
Adult treat: Pour into ice cube trays, freeze and then add to vodka for a melon flavored drink.
PLAIN FROZEN WATERMELON
Yes, you can. Cut into chunks. Or wedges – if you like insert a popsicle stick in the bottom for a handle.
Or cut with cookie cutter with bottom of rind intact to act as a handle.