There was a little friendly finger pointing going on here as to how seed for ‘Citron’ melons were ordered last winter because they were not on the original seed order list. Checking back to our planting records, it appears that they were a gift from a fellow seed saver. They were planted none the less and we assumed they would be, well, melons…the kind that you could eat.
They are beautiful. Eye-catching and intriguing and also nearly impenetrable with a regular knife and once inside, they are hard, white and um, not very tasty. So why do people cultivate them and save the seeds? That’s what we would like to know. We are puzzled about this and also determined to find either a use for them or good homes for them. Someone, somewhere is looking for these, unusual heirloom specialties, I just know it and I am here to help.
Research tells us that they are ancestors of the watermelon and native to the Kalahari Desert of Africa and that there are records of cultivation of this plant dating back 4,000 years. They are loaded with pectin and for that reason they are used for making preserves. Other than that, we have not found many recipes or uses for ‘Citron’ melons although today, my husband Mike may have made a new and important discovery; grilled ‘Citron’ steaks.
It’s possible that someone else has already tried this, but I admit being somewhat amused and impressed by his Sunday morning grilling adventure. I was also surprised to find out what an improvement in flavor there was after they were grilled. Grilling actually brought out a little watermelon flavor (undetectable when raw) and they held up well to grilling. The texture was good, too. Lightly salting them is enough to enhance the flavor. We tried a piece with sugar and another with olive oil, but simply salted was both of our favorite.
One more thing that is worth mentioning is that the seeds are beautiful. They are bright red and very striking in the white fruit of the melon. I have a feeling that we will have a few of these melons left at the end of the season and although I don’t expect that we’ll save many of the seeds for replanting, I am considering other possibilities; jewelry, mosaics, trivets…winters can be pretty long here.
One melon that we will definitely be replanting next year is these exceptionally delicious cantaloupes. The warm weather has extended their season into the fall and they are incredible. I have been enjoying melon smoothies with lime basil and yogurt. The smoothies are also delicious with fresh ginger and lime. I have been freezing melon cubes to snack on and to use for smoothies well into the winter. Give us a call if you would like to stock up on melons (either kind) before the season ends. (We have a just few seedless watermelons left, too)