Winter melon is a southern fruit that is extremely popular in Asian countries. It is also popular among people as ash gourd, wax gourd, white pumpkin, and Chinese watermelon. Winter melon tastes like watermelon rind or cucumber. Due to its taste, it's perfect for a variety of dishes and drinks.
This melon thrives in warm regions, and you can find it fresh in Asian markets. Considering the versatility and usability of this fruit, it has a special place in making delicious dishes. If you want to know about winter melon, its taste, and its preparation, read more in the article.
What Is Winter Melon?
Winter melon is a fruit that is most often used as a vegetable in Asian cuisine. It is a large fruit, usually irregularly round or oblong. The melons have dark green skin, and the inside is soft. When cut, the melon is fleshy, white, and juicy inside. The melon's flesh is filled with seeds that are also edible.
Why It Is Called Winter Melon?
Melon got this name because of its look. Namely, when the fruit is unripe, the skin is covered with soft, fuzzy hairs that resemble snow. As the melon begins to ripe, the hairs disappear, and it gets its shine, which helps it to last a long time and stay fresh.
Also, winter melon has a very long shelf life. It can last up to four months. That is why people use it most often in the winter when there are not many fresh fruits and vegetables. If you are one of those who want to try winter melon, let's explore how it tastes.
What Does Winter Melon Taste Like?
When you peel a winter melon, you will notice the pale flesh. It is firm, yet somewhat watery and juicy. It is filled with cream-colored seeds, which are also edible. When cooked, the seeds have a nutty flavor.
The raw winter melon has a sweet taste, but people never eat it like that since it's important to cook it. After cooking, its inside remains white and becomes transparent, and quite soft.
But do you know what it tastes like?
Firstly, do you know what the rind of a watermelon tastes like? Well, the taste of winter melon is the most similar to that. Winter melons have a mild, subtle flavor reminiscent of cucumber or watermelon. It is refreshing and full of juiciness. Due to its similarity to watermelon rind, the watermelon's rind is popular as a substitute for winter melon in various salads and dishes.
Although the taste is partly bland, in combination with other foods, winter melon gives a great flavor to dishes. In Asia, melon tea is often drunk to relax and enjoy the subtle sweetness and refreshing taste.
How to Eat a Winter Melon?
As we said, winter melon should not be eaten raw. First, you peel the skin and remove the seeds. Then you have to cut the inside as desired and cook, stew, grill, or bake. Also, you can eat the seeds when roasted. The taste of the seeds is similar to pumpkin seeds.
Winter melon can be used in different ways because it has a mild taste that is easily adapted and refreshes other dishes. You will often see it in combination with sweet fruits such as watermelons. In savory dishes, it usually goes with zucchini and similar vegetables.
The most popular dish with winter melon is winter melon soup. This soup is rich with pieces of meat, winter melon (cut into cubes), prosciutto, mushrooms, spring onions, ginger, and other ingredients. This soup has a distinctive taste due to the winter melon, and it's quite similar to the Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup.
Winter melon tea is also popular. We boiled peeled pieces of winter melon with brown sugar. Then we add them to cold or hot water to make tea. That is healthy juice/tea with a refreshing sweet taste.
Also, you can prepare winter melon in different dishes such as:
- cakes and tarts
- teas and juices
How Healthy Is Winter Melon?
As you can guess, winter melon is low in calories and rich in water. So, it is healthy because it contains:
- vitamin C and vitamin B2
- and other vitamins and minerals
Experts have shown that winter melon is rich in antioxidants that protect our bodies from various diseases. It has been shown that winter melon also has an anti-inflammatory effect.
Also, since it contains few calories and a large amount of fiber, winter melon is useful for regulating body weight. Low-calorie food like this helps us stay healthy and active, which is extremely important today.
As we said, winter melon is rich in fiber. That means it is vital for digestion, gastrointestinal health, IBS, and other digestive conditions.
What Can We Conclude?
Doesn't that sound super healthy? That's right. Winter melon is a healthy fruit with a refreshing taste that we can combine with a variety of dishes. If you are a fan of fresh food and drinks, then this is something you must try in your kitchen.
Due to the fast pace of our modern world, it seems that we have to consume balanced, healthy, and delicious food. That's why we recommend that you try winter melon and try all the benefits it has.
Winter Melon FAQs
Can I eat winter melon raw?
No! Winter melon must be thermally processed - boiled, baked, fried, or grilled.
Are winter melon seeds safe to eat?
Yes. Winter melon seeds are safe to eat when thermally processed.
What is the taste of the Winter Melon?
Winter melons have a mild, subtle taste reminiscent of cucumber or watermelon. It is refreshing and full of juiciness.
Where can I get winter melon?
Winter melon grows in warm regions and is characteristic of Asia and southern Florida. In some markets, you can also find winter melons in other countries.
Is winter melon healthy?
Yes! Winter melon is healthy because it is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Also, it is low in calories.