Almost everybody loves some sort of melon, whether it be muskmelon, honeydew melon, or watermelon. And when something is so popular today, it is hard to believe that it has actually been known and enjoyed for thousands and thousands of years!
The melon is a native of Asia, which means that it grows there without being planted by man. It is quite probable that many thousands of years ago the melon was introduced into other countries. The ancient Egyptians had the melon as one of their delicacies. The ancient Romans and probably the Greeks too enjoyed melons as much as we do! The first people to cultivate the melon in modem times were the French, and that was more than 300 years ago.
All melons belong to the gourd family, which also includes cucumbers and pumpkins. It is a trailing or trellis-climbing vine that grows best in rich, warm loam, well supplied with hummus. In cooler climates, melons are grown in hotbeds or hothouses.
All melons come from two main varieties. Originally, muskmelons grew in Southern Asia and watermelons in tropical Africa. But during centuries of cultivation, they have spread to many countries, and many varieties have been developed from these two types.
Muskmelons get their names from the faint, husky perfume that they have. Muskmelons are also called “cantaloupes”. Casaba melons are large, with smooth, yellowish-green rinds. They ripen late in the season and pack and keep better than other melons. Honeydew melons have a very smooth rind and their flesh is a deep green. Watermelons are much larger than muskmelons and much juicier.
Where Did Watermelons Originally Come From?
The origins of watermelon have been traced back to the deserts of southern Africa.