Summer is the best time to enjoy fresh seasonal fruit, and there's no better choice – with apologies to watermelon – than melon
Summer is here, and with it, hot, sunny days. To cool off, there's nothing like fresh, juicy fruit. And among the options available to us, melon is undoubtedly one of the best choices. Its soft, sweet flesh and high water content make it an ideal fruit to quench your thirst and enjoy during the summer months.
Like watermelon, melon is considered a diuretic superfood. In fact, it is 90% water, making it an excellent source of hydration on the hottest days. What's more, it's low in calories and rich in essential nutrients, making it a healthy, balanced choice for our summer diet.
Melon and watermelon: first cousins
Did you know that melons and watermelons are actually in the same family? They both belong to the Cucurbitaceae family, but to different genera. The watermelon is Citrullus lanatus, while the melon is Cucumis melo. Although they are considered vegetables in their production, they are often eaten as fruits because of their sweet and juicy properties.
A fruit with many nutritional benefits
In addition to its delicious taste, melon is also a highly nutritious fruit. It's low in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol. It's also an excellent source of dietary fibre, vitamin K, potassium and copper. What's more, it's very rich in vitamin C and vitamin B6, giving it antioxidant properties and boosting the immune system.
According to UAB Medical West, a health center in Alabama (USA), regular consumption of melon can have many health benefits. It can help reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. What's more, its dietary fiber content promotes good intestinal health and keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
How to choose the best melon
Now that you know all the health benefits melon can bring, it's time to choose the best melon at the supermarket. Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice:
1. Choosing the variety: Melons come in different varieties, such as piel de sapo, canary, cantaloupe, galia or white melon. Each has its own texture and color, so choose the one you like best.
2. Firmness and general condition: Choose melons at the top of the fruit store, as they are less likely to be knocked about and are generally in better condition. Also check the firmness of the melon. If it's too soft, it may be overripe or damaged.
3. Squeezing: To know if the melon is ripe, you can squeeze it lightly at the ends. If the base gives way slightly and the other end bulges a little, this is a good sign.
4. Color and smell: If you opt for piel de sapo, look for melons that are yellow, as this indicates that they will be sweet. Also, make sure the stalk area smells fresh.
Beware of pre-cut melons
When you go shopping, you may be tempted to buy already-cut melons to save time. However, it's important to know that eating already-cut fruit can present a dietary risk. A study by the Spanish Food Safety Agency (AESAN) revealed that cut fruit, such as melons and watermelons, have a shorter shelf life and are more prone to the development of pathogenic micro-organisms.
If you decide to buy cut melon anyway, be sure to check the storage conditions. Don't exceed an ambient temperature of 25ºC, and keep it in a ventilated place protected from sunlight. Put it in the fridge as soon as possible and eat it quickly to avoid any health risks.
Melon is a delicious, refreshing fruit, perfect for satisfying summer cravings. It offers many nutritional benefits and can be eaten in a variety of ways. So, the next time you go shopping, don't hesitate to choose the best melon to treat yourself all summer long.