Muskmelon

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Muskmelon is one of the fruits that is available all over because of the ease in growing in various soils. It is available in many varieties but its utility remains almost identical. It is a water loaded fruit whose rind, pulp and seeds are all used for various applications.

There are also hybrid qualities of muskmelon available but their medicinal and food values remain similar to the more popular varieties.

Musk.jpg

Contents

Cultivation

The muskmelon is a long trailing annual vine that belongs to the cucumber family. It grows in sandy areas and also near river banks. It also grows on creepers. Its taste, colour, shape, weight, pulp, rind, seeds and water content vary as per the soils and regions on which they are grown. Most varieties of the muskmelon have a musk smell; thus the name muskmelon. Muskmelon is said to have originated in India

Muskmelons may be directly seeded or started as transplants. Proper temperatures for germinating and growing the transplants are very important. They should be planted at least 5 feet apart. When muskmelons are ripe, the rind changes from a green to tan or yellow.

Muskmelons have a wide range of other forms, sizes, and flesh qualities, such as the Honey Dew, Casaba, and Persian types.

Curative properties

Melons are not only sweet and refreshing, they are also highly nutritious. It has at least three times more vitamin C, 10 times more beta-carotene and a third more of the potassium than most other melons.

Melons are a good source of folate as well.

The potassium can help control blood pressure, regulate heart beat, and possibly prevent strokes.

Researchers believe that beta-carotene and vitamin C found in these melons are capable of preventing heart disease, cancer, and other chronic conditions.

They have high water content are relatively low in calories, and also fat and cholesterol free.

Its main effect is on the liver and its functioning but if taken in excess can harm the liver as well. According to Ayurveda, it Increases Kapha more and reduces vata & pitta . Muskmelon is sweet in taste, cools one down and keeps all the three humors (bile, wind and phlegm), well balanced and also controls and regulates bile, quenches thirst, is diuretic, cleanser of system, removes constipation, builds up fresh blood and controls body temperature, is carminative, digestive and helps to expel toxic substances.

Its rind, after being dried up under shade, is boiled in hot water and used to remove formation of stones, strangury, dysruria, retention of urine.

Its seeds are dried up and used in many homes as edible snacks, deserts, puddings, jams, sweetmeats, to add to and also fortify faculties of memory, brain and heart.

It should always be taken after an hour or so post meal and rarely on empty stomach, but in moderate and divided quantities only. Excessive intake can cause excess in bile secretion, distorted and perverted appetite, bloating of abdomen due to accumulation of gas, bile, fever etc. It is often advised and quite rightly so, that one must not have milk after consuming musk melons, instead it should always be followed with sugar- candy based liquid or syrup to keep the side effects off.

Some of its properties include

  • Ability to cool the body
  • Relieving tiredness
  • Is a Diuretic
  • Is considered an aphrodisiac
  • Laxative

Food Value chart

  • Calories -53
  • Fat- 0 g
  • Carbohydrate-12 g
  • Dietary Fiber-1 g
  • Sodium-23 mg
  • Folic Acid- 33 micrograms
  • Niacin-1 mg
  • Vitamin B6- less than1 mg
  • Vitamin C- 57 mg
  • Magnesium- 19 mg
  • Carotenoids-3,219 microgram

Juice Therapy

As part of juice therapy, it is effective in its raw form of ripe fruit. It is so much laden with water that hardly any effort is needed to gulp it. It is useful for all persons and all ages, provided it is taken in moderate and limited quantity and never on an empty stomach.

The juice is made by peeling the skin of the muskmelon, make it into pieces, squeezing the juice of melon & diluting it if required. jaggery can be added if required.

Musk melon juice helps in

  • Increasing appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Constipation
  • Ulcers

Storage

Keep uncut melons at room temperature for two to four days or until fully ripe, then refrigerate for up to 5 days. The cut up melon should be in a covered container for up to 3 days. Remember that cut melons are aromatic and their smell will penetrate other foods as it gives off ethylene gas

Did You Know

  • Melons are in the same gourd family as squashes and cucumbers
  • Stir in melon in your cold fruit soups.
  • sliced melons make an attractive edible garnish.
  • One of the earliest records of melons is in an Egyptian tomb painting from 2400 B.C.
  • To pick a ripe musk melon, the blossom end should be fragrant and give slightly to pressure.

[www.aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/plantanswers/publications/vegetabletravelers/muskmelon.html -] [www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/veggies/muskmelon1.html] [vegdis.cas.psu.edu/03Diseases/D416_Musk.html]