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This is a very special variety melon in which the seed originated in the Xinjiang area of China. Oblong in shape with yellow skin and green streaks throughout, the Hami melon has a juicy orange flesh. Its flavor profile is reminiscent to a very sweet cantaloupe, with more flavor and firmer crunchy texture.
The Hami-Gua melon is a muskmelon that takes form in over 180 different variations, creating melons of different sizes, patterns, colors, and shapes. The melons common denominator is their sugar content. On the Brix scale, Hami melons score 14 to 16% sugar content. The flavor of the melon is a complex interaction of sugar, ph, texture and volatile compounds, making each melon variety individually unique.
A Hami melon is actually a cultivar of cantaloupe, although it doesn't look like the cantaloupes we all know and love. Since it's a cantaloupe, you can tell if it's ripe for harvest by smell (slightly sweet), and it has firm flesh that gives a little under pressure. However, the most reliable way is to look at the stem--as the fruit gets nearer to being ripe, the area of the stem near where it's attached to the fruit develops small cracks. When the tiny cracks encircle the stem, and the stem itself looks shriveled, the melon should break from the vine with a slight twist. If it doesn't come off easily, give it a couple more days.
There are many kinds of Hami melons and it can be in several different shapes and colors. But it is usually from round to oval in shape. Rind colors are off-white, yellow, brown or green. Some with lines, netting or patches.
Depending on the various cultivars, it is usually sweet and crisp but some may be quite tasteless, especially when it is not fully ripe. When it is fully ripe, it is sometimes with dark patches on the rind as if it's going to rot soon and heavier for its size. But do not wait till it is overripe as it will get too mushy
These melons are sweet and refreshing and are a wonderful addition to breakfast. Also, try them with a sprinkle of ginger, salt, or a squeeze of lemon or lime. These melons add sweetness to fruit salads or in refreshing drinks, such as fruit punches or daiquiris.