25 Apr2010

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Absolutely WONDERFUL cantaloupes are to be had in local markets, trucked in from the hot fields of Central Luzon and points north. SUPERB flavor, intensely sweet and so juicy. I have always been wary of local melons as I often get lemons instead of edible melons. But every once in a while, you hit the melon jackpot, and it’s probably worth the “wasted” expenditure on the mediocre examples. This melon, a slightly different variety from the run-of-mill local cantaloupes you and I are more familiar with, has a more yellow orange rind/skin and comes smaller in size. Vendors sometimes refer to them as Taiwan melons, or Japanese melons and had someone tipped them off properly, they should have claimed they were like the wonderful cavaillon (charantais) melons if they wanted to up their price even more. They are more expensive at PHP60 for this small melon at the market this weekend, almost double the price of other melons. But so worth it. I nearly ate a whole one in a single sitting!

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Local fruits over the past 6 months or so have had such discombobulated results… off season, little or no fruit, poor quality, etc. that it’s a wonderful change to find superb melons in the market. Just last week I bought other cantaloupes and was disappointed, but these yellow orange ones are worth seeking out. If you are planning to buy a lot, head to the market with a pocket knife and taste one melon before you buy several. If you have this seemingly unique Pinoy kitchen tool, the melon scraper/shredder, then you can make a great big pitcher of melon juice. Or eat them as is, in fruit salads, etc. They pair beautifully with prosciutto as well. See other posts on melons here, here and here. Enjoy! :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Gerry says:

    Most of the cantaloupes I’ve gotten this summer have been hard and not at all juicy. Is there a difference in the skin of this melon to distinguish it from the local variety?

    Apr 25, 2010 | 12:25 pm

     
  2. Mimi says:

    I always smell the top of the rock melon- where the ‘tangkay’ has been pulled – to know if it is ready for eating. If it does not smell sweet and musky, then it is Not ready. I also find that the exterior skin itself is not an indicator of ripeness. Over-ripe ones make great skakes.

    Apr 25, 2010 | 12:54 pm

     
  3. Nanna says:

    Aw I love cantaloupes? Where did you buy this, MM? From the FTI Weekend Market? We always buy our fruits there. We once bought a ganta can of those juicy local wild cherries for 25 pesos only. Yay!

    Apr 25, 2010 | 1:05 pm

     
  4. Isa Garchitorena says:

    Nice melons.

    Apr 25, 2010 | 1:45 pm

     
  5. Mom-Friday says:

    I was wondering about that yellow variety…now I know, thanks for sharing!

    Apr 25, 2010 | 2:41 pm

     
  6. kate says:

    I really love this type of melon especially when it is nice and cold :)

    Apr 25, 2010 | 3:20 pm

     
  7. millet says:

    oh, i love those, and i don’t know why we never seem to get good ones here in davao. what we have are muskmelons, which smell wonderful but are practically tasteless.

    Apr 25, 2010 | 5:03 pm

     
  8. Jun B says:

    I miss those melons shredded with lots of ice or an ice candy with melon. At P60 per melons it’s a steal, Japanese rock melons are price here at around SGD$50 or P1500. The australian variety cost less at P250 nevertheless I seldon buy them in whole as I always settle for those already slices ready to eat.

    Apr 25, 2010 | 7:10 pm

     
  9. Rona Y says:

    I think you mean “cavaillon”, not “cavalloin”. :-)

    Apr 25, 2010 | 7:18 pm

     
  10. Marketman says:

    Rona, yes, thank you, I will edit. :) Jun B, yes, I have noticed those outrageously expensive, incredibly delicious Japanese and Korean melons, but I wouldn’t spend that much for a piece of fruit, no matter how good. Nanna, yes, these were part of the fruit purchases at the FTI market on Saturday. Mimi, actually, I like it when the tangkay is still there, as you can tell how recently it has been picked. I read somewhere that melons do NOT get sweeter after you pick them, only juicier. So if melons are picked too early, they are basically doomed. Gerry, these look like other cantaloupes but are noticeably yellow orange-gyer…

    Apr 25, 2010 | 7:45 pm

     
  11. Divina says:

    I really miss eating a really good melon. Sweet and very juicy. I had the green ones in Taiwan many years ago and it’s the best that I’ve tasted. Better look for this variety. Thanks. Mr. MM

    Apr 25, 2010 | 7:59 pm

     
  12. iya says:

    i had melon iskrambol the other day… first time to try it. it was good. :)

    Apr 25, 2010 | 9:49 pm

     
  13. natie says:

    in Costco, they come in plastic net-bags, and they are placed in bins according to their ”degree of ripeness”, i guess if you want your melon a bit under-ripe or kind of mushy-ripe…i bought a few bags to test the acccuracy, and it almost always is..somewhere out there in Costco-land is an expert melon bagger…

    looking at that photo, MM, makes me wish there was an app for smellovision..in a decade maybe…Steve Jobs, et al are modern-day magicians…

    Apr 25, 2010 | 10:04 pm

     
  14. Divine G. says:

    When we buy the cantaloupes here I make it a point to ripen it up to 5 days before cutting it up.This is a sure way of eating a very sweet cantaloupe or melon as we call it back home. My aunt has been bringing the newly bought cantaloupes to their Yoga and exercise classes at the YMCA and the cantaloupes are just almost ripe and not sweet at all. So I let my cantaloupe ripen first. What I miss is the melon scraper/shredder. I haven’t seen it in any of the Oriental stores here. Do any of you reading this know where I can get it also a polvoron molder? Thank you in advance and by the way I live in Chicago.

    Apr 25, 2010 | 11:45 pm

     
  15. Eden says:

    So did you break out the prosciutto? Looks delish.

    Apr 26, 2010 | 6:12 am

     
  16. junb says:

    @ Iya …Scrambol !!!! I haven’t have that since my elementary days :(…..How I miss those days that I will sneak out of school to buy scrambol. Never care about hygiene at all no matter what my parent say ;) ….I guess that was what kids are :)

    Apr 26, 2010 | 9:15 am

     
  17. chreylle says:

    i dont eat melon flesh, but i can say i like melon juice most than any other fruit juices :D

    Apr 26, 2010 | 12:21 pm

     
  18. jack says:

    looks yummy! although I only eat this fruit if its shredded (melon juice)

    Apr 27, 2010 | 12:10 am

     
  19. Kasseopeia says:

    I love melons in whatever color, shape, size or form. But this type of melon is best chilled when ripe and juicy then halved, peeled, rid of seeds and cut into wedges. Or (after being halved and rid of seeds) shredded with the ubiquitous melon shredder/baller, mixed with muscovado, a bit of water and lots of crushed ice. Heaven in those skins, I tell you!

    The Alabang Market has them now but it’s a hit-and-miss thing… sometimes they’re good, sometimes they suck.

    Apr 27, 2010 | 4:49 pm

     
  20. Lava Bien says:

    Gotta love Killa Cali, we have cantaloupe almost all year round. Even my kids can afford to buy one as it is not too expensive here.

    Apr 27, 2010 | 8:57 pm

     
  21. michelle h. says:

    I think this is the same variety they have labelled as “Honey” (not the super expensive “Hami”) melon in the grocery. They have been soooooooo good lately, I’ve been buying them 6 at a time for the past few weeks.

    Apr 28, 2010 | 9:23 pm

     
  22. Zita says:

    MM, How do you know if they are ripe and ready for eating? I always get that bit wrong. Same with watermelon. Got any tips?

    May 1, 2010 | 11:08 am

     
  23. Marketman says:

    Zita, to be honest, I think melon picking is a crapshoot. Heavy for its weight is one thing I use (also for watermelons, pomelos, oranges, etc.) as that suggests higher density or water or sugar content. I do try to see if it is fragrant, but that’s not a guarantee either. Some say look for an even webbing of the “squiggly pattern” on the skin, others still that the part resting on the ground is yellowish. Once picked, a melon does NOT ripen or sweeten further, it merely gets more juicy. So if a melon is plucked early, it will suck regardless of increasingly getting juicier and juicier… Sorry, I can’t be of more help. :(

    May 1, 2010 | 11:51 am

     
  24. Divine G. says:

    MM, so you’re saying that melons do not ripen after being picked so what happens then to what I have been doing. You see I am asking this because when the melons we buy are opened and cut immediately it is kinda harder and not as sweet but juicy and you can really see that it has not reached the ripeness stage than when you just leave it for a few days before opening and cuting it then it becomes a little softer but not mushy it is still very crunchy but the sweetness is so heavenly and when you bite in to it, it is very juicy you’ll need lots of napkins. There is a difference in the looks of the skin of the newly bought ones and those that were bought few days earlier. Well, these are just some of my observations trying to have a sweeter melon.

    May 2, 2010 | 8:09 pm

     
  25. Marketman says:

    Divine G, from what I have read, most “experts” seem to assert that the melon has to be picked mature or ripe to begin with for the best results. If picked underripe, then the wait will result in a juicier melon, not necessarily a sweeter melon. Here is one link you may want to read. Alan Davidson writes in his book “The Oxford Companion to Food” under netter or musk melons (what is often called cantaloupes in America, that, and I quote: “”However, the ripeness of a melon may be gauged by pressing the end opposite to the stem. If the melon is ripe, it will yield quite noticeably. Cantaloupes and netted melons DO NOT RIPEN MUCH (bold emphasis added) after being picked, so should not be bought if they are definitely hard.” Some sources I have read assert that melons do not have much starch that convert to sugar hence the lack of increased sweetness after picking. Other sources suggest ripening a melon in a paper bag on a kitchen counter, as the gasses given off by the fruit help to soften it some more. I think ultimately, if you have purchased an underripe melon, leave it on your kitchen counter until it becomes softer… but from the sound of it, this does not improve its sweetness much… I hope that helps. :)

    Here is more from Harold McGee, the author of “On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of The Kitchen” who states, and I quote: “Vine-ripening is important for all melons because they don’t store starch and so get no sweeter after harvest. A remnant of the stem on an aromatic melon indicates that it was harvested before becoming fully ripe……… The aroma of melons may continue to develop off the vine, but will not be the same as the aroma of a vine-ripened fruit.”

    These past few minutes of research has made me realize that I should NEVER buy a cantaloupe with a stem, as ripe fruite should easily slip off the stem. If the stem end is not smooth and was forced OFF the stem, the melon won’t be ripe.

    May 3, 2010 | 6:40 am

     
  26. Divine G. says:

    Thanks very much, for giving me your time and knowledge about a fruit that I love and enjoy eating.

    May 6, 2010 | 7:09 am

     
 

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