Melons and watermelons reign throughout the summer while the different stone fruits are taking over in the markets. And every year a recurring summer theme returns: how do you know if a cantaloupe will it be good? For some strange reason we are obsessed with finding the so-called infallible tricks that will ensure us a delicious fruit, but we have already anticipated that there are no magic secrets. You just have to apply a certain logic when buying.
The popular knowledge that used to be transmitted by word of mouth today goes viral on networks, as we saw weeks ago with a tweet about the claimed unequivocal method to recognize a tasty watermelon. Perhaps it is due to the hard crust that hides the pulp of watermelons and millions, but the truth is that both fruits are still just that, fruits, and its flavor does not depend on an occult conspiracy to the consumer.
There are no female and male melons
A strange idea that usually reappears on networks like the meme viral of turn is the supposed distinction between female and male melons, which ensures that the former are better and that they can also be differentiated by the shape of the stripes on their bark. That is absurd; Although there are male and female flowers, differentiating a fruit by a supposed sex does not make sense.
Specifically, the melon can have male, female, or hermaphrodite flowers, that is, it produces andromonoecious, monoecious and gynomonoecious flowers. The flowers pollinated thanks to the bees are the ones that develop the fruit.
Line drawings that can show melons in their rind They have nothing to do with it with the supposed sex of the fruit nor is it indicative of its sweetness or flavor.
Not all melons can ripen at home
It is usually believed that a somewhat green melon can be left to ripen for a few days at home at room temperature, but this is not always the case. Here we again emphasize the importance of distinguishing between climacteric and non-climacteric fruitsthose that continue to mature after being separated from the plant, and those that do not.
Piel de sapo melons are not climacteric; or they are harvested at their optimum point, or we can forget that they improve at home. It is very rare for a large company to market green or poorly ripened melons, as they must pass numerous quality controls, particularly when they are destined for distribution for mass consumption. Greener melons are more likely to be found at street, retail, or local stalls.
The Piel de Sapo melon does not continue to ripen after being harvested
The melons that are climacteric, which continue to ripen after harvest, are all types cantaloupe and toilet. It is a short-term advantage, but if they are left too long or it is very hot could spoil before we know it. An overripe melon soon begins to ferment and develop off-flavors and aromas.
This explains why the Piel de Sapo type are melons that continue to be found in the markets until almost Christmas, since they do not go bad if they are stored correctly; a cantaloupe will never hold so it will rot sooner.
In the variety is the spice
In the same way that not everyone likes the same types of apples, We don’t have to agree on preferences either. of melon Today there is a catalog of varieties that continues to grow every year, with the development of new seeds and crops that seek to win over the palate of each type of consumer.
A Piel de Sapo does not taste the same as a cantaloupe or a Galia, and in each type we also find new varieties that are adjusted to the tastes and needs of the market. That’s why it’s important know what we like as individuals, and make the purchase accordingly. You have to look at the name, as well as the producer and its origin, and take good note of which melon is tastier for you.
Calendar and provenance
The source of the melon is important, as large and well-known brands often continue to distribute melons when the campaign in Spain has ended, producing them in other countries where the weather permits. Even if they have the same label, the melons from January will never be the same as those from August, and they have probably traveled from the other side of the planet.
Focusing on the summer months, the melon campaign moves in our country for different growing areas according to the calendar, and this also gives us melons of one flavor or another. The first specimens arrive from the southeast, with Almería and Murcia as the earliest centers. Some melons already start at the end of April or May with protected greenhouse crops, -generally for export to Europe-, and already at the end of July and into August, melons from Castile and other regions of the country are arriving.
The climate and the type of soil it affects the crop and the fruit itself; in Murcia, for example, they generally receive more hours of sun, while the La Mancha melon, recognized with IGP, benefits from the special conditions of soil, pH, water and temperature. Unforeseen weather conditions can affect each campaign, which does not always turn out as the producer plans from the start.
In the same way that peach lovers know that it is worth waiting for the late Calanda campaign, we can give priority to melons depending on the date we are in or looking at their origin, depending on our taste. Again: not all fruits have to taste the samenor be some better than others.
Producer quality control
We already said it when giving advice on how to choose a good watermelon; a melon grower you never want to sell poor quality products. Commercially it doesn’t make any sense.
The work, investment and effort behind each fruit that reaches the markets is immense, increasingly specialized and precisely controlled to the millimeter. From the very selection of seeds, producers strive to achieve melons that meet their quality standardsdepending on the market they are targeting or the prospects of the potential consumer.
A melon intended for immediate local consumption will be harvested at its optimum point and will not go through so many post-harvest treatments or storage. It is usual to do tastings and various analysis tests before distributing the fruit, checking, especially, the aromas and Brix degrees, the level of sugars.
The tendency is to develop fruits naturally very sweet, with a high number of Brix degrees, which are what most consumers identify as a “good melon”, tasty and without a “peppery” taste. Of course, we repeat, there is nothing written about tastes, and there will be those who prefer less sweet melons.
At a particular level, we are interested in paying attention to the producer and the specific melon variety to repeat their purchase when we find a fruit that we like; on the contrary, if it does not convince us, perhaps it is time to try something different. The fault might not be with the melon, but with our specific and personal taste.
At the time of purchase
We have to forget to grope melons or hit them as if they were going to give us a magic signal to guess their quality. In principle, all the fruits will have passed the aforementioned quality control, but we can check that they have not been damaged during transport or in the store itself, factors that are beyond the control of the producer.
The yellowish or paler spots that some melons show on one side or base may correspond to the area in contact with the ground, but is not always an indication of its maturation, since they often move in the plant itself or can vary depending on the hours of sunlight. It is rare that melons of different ripening levels are strained; we could be suspicious when a large specimen weighs very little. Although, again, it is rare that it happens.
What we must focus on is that the fruit does not present damage, blows, cracks or strange odors, since, on occasions, stores accumulate the product for too long on their shelves, causing old overripe melons to be mixed with new shipments. This also happens with other fruits and vegetables.
Some shops are open to offer a tasting, something to keep in mind to get an idea of the flavor that awaits us if we decide on a copy. Open melons let us see the quality of the pulp, but they have not always been kept in the best conditions; They should be well wrapped and refrigerated.
trust a reliable establishment It is key in the purchasing process, which ensures transparency, respect for the product and honesty. Melons must be healthy in appearance, well displayed and properly labeled, away from sunlight or contact with other fruits. It is advisable to avoid itinerant sales of dubious origin, often without guarantees.
Essentials – Concentrated Melon Aroma – 10 ml
There is no absolute certainty
No matter how much production and each phase of the process is controlled to the maximum, there is always room for disaster. Nature is capricious and we have to assume that not everything can always be perfect. There are times when a melon simply turns out bad or has gone bad at some point in the chain.
If that happens, we have no choice but to accept it with resignation and try your luck again next time. When we chain several melons that are not to our liking, we can already begin to suspect that something is wrong and perhaps it will be time to change the point of sale or the variety.
Photos | Unsplash- Pixabay – Jumpstory – Marco Verch
Direct to the Palate | The melon, the king of summer: three cold soups and five salads to get the most out of it when temperatures rise
Direct to the Palate | Nine different fruits and vegetables to tune gazpachos and salmorejos like a professional