Melon Madness

Nutrition team

Not many fruit come in such a dazzling array of colours as melon – from creamy white to bright red, melon season is well and truly here. Around 30 varieties of melon are commercially available worldwide, although in this country we are more familiar with just 4 or 5 varieties – cantaloupe, honeydew, galia, charantais and watermelon are all available at this time of year. It might be a little bit harder to find canary melon or Santa Claus melon on our supermarket shelves!

Melon should be bought when they have a sweet smell from the stem end and should be stored in the fridge once they are ripe – when they are giving out a sweet fragrance through their skin. Melon can be disappointing if it is eaten under or over-ripe: under-ripe fruit can be quite tasteless while over-ripe melon can have an unpleasant fermented flavour.

Melons are up to 95% water and have very few calories and virtually no fat - only 48 calories and 0.2g of fat in a 200g serving. The more deeply coloured melon are also sources of a variety of vitamins, including vitamin C and beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A.

The sweet flavour of ripe melon complements a host of foods, including salty and smoked flavours. Melon is very versatile and can be used in a range of dishes, from breakfast smoothies to sorbets to the classic combination with Parma ham

MANGO AND MELON BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE

1 mango
½ melon

Cut the mango either side of the stone, peel the flesh and put into a food processor. Add the melon flesh and whiz until smooth. Pour this into two tall glasses and top with sparkling water.

Makes 2 servings.

Nutritional information: 103 calories and 0.4g fat per serving.

MELON AND FETA CHEESE SALAD

1 honey dew melon
½ small watermelon
150g feta cheese, crumbled
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Peel the melon and cut into wedges. Arrange on a plate and drizzle with olive oil and season well. Scatter over the cheese and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional information: 225 calories and 10.7g of fat per serving.

PARMA HAM AND MELON

4 slices Parma ham or raw smoked ham
1 sweet ripe melon, quartered and deseeded
Freshly ground black pepper

Drape the slices of ham over the melon quarters. Serve with freshly ground black pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional information: 83 calories and 2.7g fat per serving.

CANTALOUPE MELON SORBET

250g caster sugar
250ml water
1 cantaloupe melon
15ml spoon lemon juice

Dissolve the sugar and water together over a low heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Leave to cool. Cut the melon in half, scoop out the seeds and remove the rind. Place the flesh, lemon juice and sugar syrup in a food processor and process for one minute or until smooth.

Either place in a container and freeze for 3 hours, stirring occasionally to break up the ice crystals, or freeze in an ice cream machine. Serve with fresh fruit such as strawberries, raspberries or kiwi.

Makes 10 servings.

Nutritional information: 117 calories and 0.1g fat per serving.

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