Melons & Gourds

Melons and gourds belong in the Cucurbitaceae family, they are sometimes referred to as cucurbits. Fruits in this family are considered pepo fruits – berries with a hard rind.

Summer melons have crosshatched rind that looks like brown netting, such as cantaloupe, charentais, galia, muskmelons, ogen, and pineapple or khoob melons.

Winter melons
have smooth or finely ridged rind that’s pale or bright yellow. Winter melons have a delicate rind and flesh, and the pale flesh that’s not as flavorful as summer melons. Winter melons include honedew, casaba, crenshaws, ein d’Or and Piel de Sapo, and watermelons.

Cantaloupe (C. melo reticulata)

Family: Cucurbitaceae – gourd
Edible part(s): fruit – pepo fruit – berry with a hard rind; and the seeds
Native region(s): Asia
Climate: temperate
Life cycle: annual
Appearance:
Cantaloupe plant is a vine. Cantaloupe fruits are large and heavy, weighing up to 10 pounds. The skin of the fruit is beige and has a net-ribbed rind. These melons are very fragrant when ripe, emitting a sweet, fruity, musky aroma. The flesh is sweet, orange, and succulent.
Aroma: sweet, fruity, floral, fresh, fatty, cooked vegetable, sulfurous, caramel
Taste: sweet
Flavor: sweet, floral, fruity
Nutritional value: vitamins A & C, antioxidants, potassium
Culinary uses: eaten raw and cooked, usually raw as a fresh fruit, in fruit salad, desserts. seeds are dried and eaten as a snack.

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus)

Family: Cucurbitaceae – gourd
Edible part(s): fruit – berry
Native region(s): Asia – China, Himalaya
Climate: tropical, subtropical, temperate
Life cycle:
annual
Appearance:
long green berries of the cucumber plant which is a vine
Aroma: cucumber, melon, fatty, green, geranium-metallic
Taste: sweet, bitter
Flavor: Asian cucumbers are melon-like, sweet, waxy, umami, juicy. Eurasian cucumbers are fresh, intense cucumber flavor, crisp. can be bitter, salty, watery.
Nutritional value: over 90% water
Culinary uses: eaten raw and cooked, usually raw in salads, sandwiches, pickled

 

 

Honeydew melon (Cucumis melo inodorus)

Honeydew is a common winter melon.

Family: Cucurbitaceae – gourd
Edible part(s): pepo fruit- berry with a hard rind.
Native region(s): Asia, Africa, Middle East 
Climate: tropical, subtropical, temperate
Life cycle: annual
Appearance:
honeydew melon plants are a trailing vine that bears large, oval fruits weighing up to 7 pounds, and have a smooth green or yellowish rind. the flesh is pale green, firm, succulent.
Aroma: cucumber, fresh, floral, sweet, creamy, melon, medicinal
Taste: sweet
Flavor: mild, sweet, slightly earthy
Nutritional value: vitamins B & C, potassium, high water content
Culinary uses: eaten raw and cooked, usually raw as fresh fruit, in desserts.

 

 

Squash (Cucurbita)

Summer squashes have smaller fruit, have soft skin, and are quick-growing, they include: zucchini, yellow crookneck, pattypan, globe. Winter squashes have larger fruit, tougher skin, and can be stored over winter; they include butternut, delicata, acorn, spaghetti, buttercup squash, and pumpkins.

Family: Cucurbitaceae – gourd
Edible part(s):
fruit – pepo berry, and blossoms
Native region(s): The Americas
Climate:
tropical, subtropical, temperate
Life cycle: annual
Appearance: 
Aroma: 
Taste: sweet
Flavor: mild, nutty flavor, the flesh of summer squash is more watery, winter squash is more dense and creamy.
Nutritional value: varies based on variety, typically high in vitamins, minerals, fiber
Culinary uses: eaten raw or cooked, usually cooked – baked, boiled, fried, in soups, casseroles, etc.

 

 

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)

Watermelon is not a true melon.

Family: Cucurbitaceae – gourd
Edible part(s): 
Native region(s): Africa
Climate: tropical
Life cycle: annual
Appearance:
The watermelon plant is an annual vine that bears large, juicy, pepo fruits, which are a type of berry. Watermelons are large ovals or spheres that have a hard rind that has light and dark green stripes. Ripe watermelons make a hollow “ping” sound when you tap them. The flesh inside is usually red but can also be yellow or white.
Aroma: fresh, waxy, cucumber, melon, fruity, apricot, floral, violet
Taste: sweet
Flavor: The taste is sweet and fruity. The texture is crisp, light, tender, succulent and juicy.
Nutritional value: vitamins A & C, antioxidants, fiber, high water content
Culinary uses: usually eaten raw, sometimes pickled.