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Friday, April 8, 2011

Muskmelons or Cantaloupes - The Perfect Summer Fruit

March is the season of spring, which brings with it the warmth of the sun rays that melt the winter snows. It also brings about a splash of color in nature as all the trees and plants begin to get their green leaves and colorful flowers back. In India, this season is welcomed with the colorful festival of "Holi" during which wet and dry colors are thrown on each other in a very playful manner and there is also a lot of song and dance. This is the time for carnivals that are full of colorful costumes, parades and colorful floats that are taken down the streets in various parts of the world. The Goa carnival is one such festivity that is extremely popular. This warmth will soon turn into the summer heat.

To beat this summer heat, there are many things that you can do to keep yourself cool. There are several juicy and fleshy fruits that are ideal for this summer heat and that will also cool you down. Muskmelon or Cantaloupe is the perfect summer fruit. There are many varieties of melons, namely the cantaloupe, honeydew and the watermelon are the most well known varieties. Other types are: Casaba, Crenshaw, Persian, Santa Claus and Sharlyn. Melons are from the same gourd family as squashes and cucumber, and they even have a similar structure as that of a squash with thick flesh and inner seed-filled midsection. But squashes are classified as vegetables whereas the melons are clasified as fruits with a sweet and juicy flavor.

                muskmelons or cantaloupes - health benefits, the perfect summer fruit
Image: Wikimedia Commons: North American "cantaloupes," actually a type of muskmelon.

There are several health benefits associated with this fruit. Since it has a very high water content, it can help take care of the fluid loss that our bodies go through due to heavy perspiration in the summers. In this manner it helps to combat the heat in the body and thus prevents the heat-related disorders during the summer. Muskmelons are the ideal fruit for people who are counting calories and want to lose weight because it does not have high sugar content and therefore low in calories. It makes a perfect in-between-meal snack and takes care of your hunger pangs. It's yellow-orange colored soft and succulent flesh provides you with high dietary fibre and helps people with constipation. Muskmelons are also rich in antioxidants, a good source of vitamin-C and A, folic acid, and has concentrated levels of beta-carotene and potassium that helps to get rid of excess sodium in the body, thereby decreasing the cholesterol levels in the body. The antioxidants in the fruit helps the skin to look healthier and younger. This fruit is also great for menstruating women as it helps to reduce the heavy flow and clots.

The best part is that muskmelons are easily available in a store near you, so go ahead and get a bite of this fruit and enjoy its numerous health benefits. It's also very easy to select the perfect melon, just see that they should not have cracks, soft spots, or dark bruises. You can store uncut melons at room temperature for two to four days or until it gets fully ripe. Then you can refrigerate it for upto five days. Cut melons are aromatic and so their smell can easily penetrate other foods, so to avoid that you should keep them covered. Also remember to wash the melons in warm soapy water thoroughly to remove any impurities that might be carried from the knife blade to the flesh. Cut in half, and remove the seeds and strings from the center by scooping it out. Muskmelon can be had in many different ways. It can be mixed with other fruits to make some really delicious and cool recipes. You can make cool juices, milk shakes, fruit salads, sharbat and even ice creams. Get a bite into good health!

Listed below are links to some great muskmelon recipes that you can try:
  1. Muskmelon Ice Cream
  2. Muskmelon Sharbat
  3. Great Summer Melon Recipes
  4. Muskmelon and Papaya Fruit Salad
  5. Muskmelon Milkshake
  6. Muskmelon and Orange Juice
Original article posted on Xomba

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