botanical name: Cucumis melo
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The melon is a climber or creeping plant and with this name it indicates both the plant and its fruit, edible, very fragrant and sweet: it belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family and the scientific term is Cucumis melo.
The radial extension of the apparatus is up to 150 centimeters, while on the branched stem the leaves grow long stalk and flowers to 5 yellow lobes. Melon is cultivated in most of the world for its fruits, which grow every year; howevere, despite the fact that the hard bloom from May to September and is very abundant, only 10% fruits.
Origins and history
This plant originates from Asia or Africa and began to spread in the Mediterranean area around the fifth century BC, to arrive in Italy in the first century AD: in fact was ranked for the first time by Pliny the Elder. Among the Romans, the melon met an immediate success, although it was considered a vegetable and eaten as a salad.
There are many different varieties of melon, which differ according to their fruit: for flesh color ranges from yellow to white and orange. The winter melons have a taste reminiscent of pear, with white-pinkish flesh: it's a typical Christmas dish in Sicily and has a smooth skin. Instead the 'cantaloupe' variety is originally from the homonym place on the hills of Rome, it has a yellow-orange flesh, a smooth surface and is of medium size. Finally netted melons have white flesh, while the bitter melon is used as a medicinal plant. In addition, the melon is used as a fruit harvested when ripe and unripe as a vegetable if caught.
Nutritional properties and benefits of Melon
The melon is almost entirely composed of water (about 95% of its total weight). For this reason it's a fruit widely consumed during the summer, as it gives relief from the heat and a feeling of freshness. At the same time it allows to relieve the heartburn and purify the kidneys. In addition, the melon has a high content of mineral salts and vitamins, while the proportion of saturated fats present is zero. In particular it contains calcium, phosphorus and iron, while from the point of view of the vitamins are present especially those of groups A, B and C.
It's necessary to keep in mind that, just for the fact of being composed almost entirely of water, the melon has very few calories, only 60 calories per serving. Finally this fruit is recommended for those suffering from high blood pressure or those at risk of heart attack or with cardiovascular problems: it contains an anticoagulant agent, which prevents blood clots.
The variety bitter melon has been recently adopted in the treatment for the prevention of pancreatic cancer.
The use of melon in cooking
Melons are part of the same family as pumpkins and cucumbers, however, they are much more gentle as well as you consume fruits. They can be eaten either raw or cooked: in the first case are served as a dessert or as an appetizer or as an afternoon snack or fresh breakfast. If you decide to cook melon, you get jams and compotes.
In addition it can serve as an ingredient to achieve a large number of recipes, from sorbets to salads, ice creams, milk shakes; in summer you can enjoy it as a fruit centrifuged.
At last it 's combined with other fruits or vegetables, for example, to create fruit kebabs or salads: in this case it's cut into cubes and served with cucumber into thin slices. It's still important that the fruit is ripe at the right point and what you can tell from his scent. Even the seeds, usually unused, can be taken: simply wash, dry and sprinkle with salt. At this point they fry them in a pan over high heat until they begin to pop and eat them as snacks.
The melon was in ancient times the symbol of fertility, but often with this name "fools" were shown in Italy. In the sixteenth century it was considered harmful when consumed in large amounts so much so that the doctors of the time linked to their abuse death of two popes and four emperors. At the time of the Roman emperor Diocletian the consumption of these fruits was so widespread that it was proclaimed an edict to tax the sale of specimens of more than 200 grams of weight.