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What is a Casaba Melon?

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  • Written By: Niki Foster
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2014
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The casaba melon is a type of muskmelon, closely related to honeydew and cantaloupe. While it is native to Asia Minor, casaba is grown commercially in South America and in the Southwestern United States, particularly California and Arizona. This fruit gets its name from Kasaba, Turkey, whence it was imported to the United States in the late 19th century. Like other melons, casaba is typically served raw on fruit platters or in a fruit salad.

Because it is not as sweet or flavorful as other melon varieties, casaba is less popular than its relatives. However, casaba melon has the benefits of a long shelf life and juicy flesh with a cucumber-like flavor. In addition, it is available in both the summer and the winter, since US-grown casabas and South American casabas ripen at different times of the year. The flavor of a vine-ripened casaba melon is stronger than that of one ripened on the counter.

Casaba melon has a very thick rind, and the external appearance of the fruit differs from that of the honeydew and the cantaloupe. The skin of a casaba is smooth, but wrinkled, with longitudinal furrows. A ripe one should be bright yellow, and the blossom end should yield slightly to pressure. If not vine-ripened, a casaba melon can be ripened on the counter for two to four days, after which it can be refrigerated for about five days, or three days if cut.

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A casaba melon is simple to prepare. Simply slice it in half, scoop out the seeds in the middle, and cut up the remaining pieces. The rind is not edible, as with other melons. Casaba can also be eaten with a spoon for an easy snack after the seeds are removed. Squeezing a bit of lemon or lime juice onto the melon before eating it can enhance its flavor, whether it is eaten alone or added to a fruit dish.

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cmsmith10
Post 2

If you are expecting that juicy, sweet taste indicative of a watermelon, you will be disappointed in your casaba melon. The casaba melon is not nearly as sweet as a regular watermelon. They almost have a cucumber taste to them. It is best served at room temperature.

I like to add a little salt, lime juice, and just a sprinkle of ginger on mine.

concordski
Post 1

I think Casaba melons are underrated. You just have to make sure that they are really ripe when you eat them, and the great thing is that they ripen off the vine. You can let them sit in a dark place to ripen, although as the article above states, they are best when they ripen on the vine.

Also, there is a trick to accelerating the ripening process: you put the melon in a large brown paper bag along with some apples. The apples emit ethylene gas which speeds up the ripening of the melon. The apples themselves are not affected.

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