We all recall blissful memories of enjoying juicy melons as a thirst-quenching fruit on a warm summer day – either on a picnic or on a far-flung hot holiday destination.
Even on their own, melons are full of nutrition but paired with other foods they become one of the healthiest of all fruit. Combinations of sweetness and savoury make melons an ideal choice for starters, salads or even a dessert.
The healthy qualities of melons have been known for millennia, with even Hippocrates prescribing melons as a diuretic and for heatstroke. Today, we recognize the amazing antioxidant qualities with Vitamins A and C, healthy heart from its potassium content and healthy skin from the copper in melons. But probably the most important aspect is their high water content, with over 90% water to prevent dehydration on a hot summer day.
Melons come in all shapes and sizes with rough or smooth skins on the outside and colourful flesh on the inside. From the large watermelon to the small round Gaia or Cantaloupe these funky fruits produce mouthwatering flavours in recipes.
The recipes below contain two varieties of melons – watermelon and yellow honeydew, although you can easily adapt the recipes to include any other variety of melon.
Watermelon has a particularly distinctive rough coloured green with the most amazing deep red flesh and lots of black seeds. Juicy when cut but must be kept refrigerated to promote freshness.
Yellow honeydew melon is smaller in shape and has a lovely yellow smooth skin. The off-white flesh is juicy and sweet.
- ½ watermelon
- 200g good-quality Feta cheese
- 150g black pitted olives
- ground black pepper
- sea salt
- sprigs of mint
- original sweet balsamic vinegar (optional)
- Cut rind from watermelon. Remove black seeds. Cut melon into medium sized chunks and set aside.
- Cube the feta cheese into 1 inch cubes.
- Drain black olives (if in brine). Slice in half.
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Season with black pepper and sea salt.
- Top with sprigs of mint.
- Optional ingredient – drizzle with sweet balsamic vinegar dressing available from Little Doone (ideal for any salad dressing)
- 1 large watermelon
- 2 large sweet oranges
- 150g strawberries
- 150g blueberries
- 4 white flat peaches or ripe nectarines
- Several sprigs of mint
- Slice top of watermelon.
- Set aside top, and gently remove the flesh from the inside making sure no black seeds are remaining. Set flesh aside.
- Peel and remove pith from oranges and slice into segments.
- Wash and slice all stone fruits
- Wash and de-hull strawberries then slice in half.
- Wash and snip mint leaves.
- Place all fruit back in hulled-out melon shell, top with mint leaves and keep chilled in fridge before serving
- Serve with a bowl of crème fraiche (drizzled with honey) and a small glass of chilled white sweet wine such as Barsac or Sauternes.
- 1 small honeydew melon
- 200g good quality Italian Parma ham
- 2 ripe nectarines
- black pepper
- sea salt
- sprigs of mint
- Peel the honeydew melon and cut into chunks, removing the seeds.
- Place slices of Parma ham on baking sheet and transfer to a low heat oven.
- Cook until slightly crispy then set aside to cool.
- Wash and stone nectarines, cut into slices.
- Place honeydew melon chunks, nectarine slices in a small bowl, top with crispy Parma ham slices.
- Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper and garnish with sprigs of mint.
The sun is still shining – so give funky melon recipes a try. You may be surprised how versatile they can be for a cook with attitude!