August 19, 2014

Melons Galore

I had such a poor harvest of everything last year that I reckon I went a bit overboard this year. For melons, I planted Green Nutmeg, a lovely heirloom variety that we like better than cantaloupe.

Green Nutmeg melons

Well, production hasn't disappointed. We've been eating one almost every day. There are a couple of things I like to do with the surplus. One is to cut thin slices and dehydrate them. This makes a very tasty, no sugar, fruit leather-like snack. My blog post about dehydrating watermelon (with instructions) can be read here.

The other thing I like to do is to freeze melon, especially the ones that get away from me, i.e. overripe. I don't find this works well for a bowlful of thawed melon chunks or a fruit salad, but we love them in smoothies.

Preparing melon for freezing. I'll transfer to freezer bags once frozen.

To make those smoothies, I add chunks of frozen melon along with whatever else is in the freezer: strawberries, blueberries, figs, bananas, and whir it up in the blender with some kefir. That makes an exceedingly refreshing frozen treat on a sweltering hot day.

As you can see from the above photo, there is no waste, not even for the compost pile. The rinds are fed to the goats and pigs, pulp to the chickens, and I save a few seeds too. For that I use the method for soft, pulpy foods (see "Seed Saving: Cucumbers"), but after the incident with the sweet potatoes, I use only filtered water!

Anyone else enjoying homegrown melon this summer?

14 comments:

  1. I buy them from a little country store. They have a good selection when they are in season. Sounds like you make excellent use of them. I like sliced melon, chilled in the stream, for an evening snack.

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  2. I've never been able to grow an eatable melon, but I buy from a local melon stand. :)

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  3. I wish I were. I have a meager assortment. The raspberries, however, are starting to come in. Yea!

    That melon is cool! Where did the seeds come from?

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  4. Harry, stream chilled! When I lived in NW Arkansas we used an icy cold stream as a "fridge". Made a box that allowed water to flow through and kept things like cheese in it in the summer. Worked really well.

    Tpals, that's the next best thing!

    Barb, I got the seed from Baker Creek, but I'd be happy to trade or share if you wish. Have to say I wish I had raspberries doing more than just sitting there!

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  5. That opening melon pic looks mouth watering. Im slobbering down under, waiting for summer to bring melons. We can of course buy everything at any time but i try not to buy out of season. Our fruit & veggie section is like the United Nations but there is a push for more local produce and so its labelled accordingly and made more expensive, because its special, right? Im hoping to create some arches between beds that i can grow melons vertically. I dont have the ground space.

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  6. Too short a season for really good homegrown melons here. The one's I've tried in the past are small, and if I can get them to actually ripen, they're not horribly sweet and tender. Our local farm stand had spectacular one's though, so we support them.

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  7. no homegrown melons over here. I used to try plants from seeds, but even though they survived in the polytunnel they didn't set:( and the ones in the shop are usually quite bland - the usual problem: harvested unripe for transport = not much taste when they hit the shops:( to be honest, even though the weather wasn't all that bad, our pickings so far haven't been great:( only the plums look reasonably promising...

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  8. Leigh,

    Melons Yum!!! I've never tried the green nutmeg melon, it looks good. I'll have to keep an eye out for the seeds, and try it.

    What a great idea to freeze overripe pieces for smoothies.

    We cut up a cantaloup last night and added it to our fruit salad, placed it in the refrigerator to get nice and cold. It made for a great snack after working out in the heat.

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  9. They look good. I'm growing my first this year. A musk melon. Its only got one on but I'm looking forward to it. I hope I get it when ots ripe.

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  10. I have to admit I cannot stand melons except watermelon and I'll be having another go at growing them this spring. I'm planting my seeds out next Tuesday (going to see if Moon gardening helps any as friends swear by it and their garden is better than mine). I saved some honeydew seeds last year though so I'll plant them even if they only become goat food but I reckon my kids will enjoy them as long as they eat them a long way away from me! ;)
    We too make kefir milkshakes. A very soft banana and kefir is being demolished as I type. :)

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  11. My wife was annoyed at me for planting watermelon in our garden as she said it's just a waste of space. Being so far north it's hard to grow nice melons. But we actually have baseball size watermelons right now. Too bad the growing season is almost over for us and I'll soon have to admit she was right.

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  12. You are lucky to have so much melon. Yum! I just bought a cantaloupe for 99 cents and froze some up today for smoothies too. Wishing now I had bought more for that price! Nancy

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  13. Lynda, these are amazingly delicious. It's good to hear the trend for local is growing worldwide, but it is a shame to make it more expensive "just because". The farmers might not be subsidized by the gov, but they aren't having to pay all those transportation costs!

    Nina, I envy you northern gardeners your gooseberries, rhubarb, and currents. But at least I have my melon! ;)

    Bettina, melons do like their heat, but plums are good to!

    Sandy, I got my seed from Baker Creek. I have to agree melon is a deliciously cooling snack.

    Kev, I hope it does well for you!

    Rabidlittlehippy, how funny; watermelon is my least favorite! All of them make good goat food, so there's never a loss!

    (Now I'm hungry for a kefir milkshake :)

    Doug, that's so sad. I reckon we all have to learn to grow what nature lets us, no matter where we are.

    Nancy, that is a good price!

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  14. No melons for us way up here! Hubby was hungry for some cantaloupe a week or so ago so I paid way too much for an organic one at our food coop. It was so totally unripe we couldn't eat it. :o( When my dream hoop house gets set up, I have fantasies of being able to grow melons in it. Just a fantasy? Maybe.

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