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Why That Name?
Santa Claus melons are available in the month of December, which coincides with the Christmas season. That's the reason they got the name Santa Claus. For the same reason, they are also called Christmas melons or December melons.
The Santa Claus melon is also known as Piel de Sapo, which means "skin of a toad" in Spanish. It is widely grown in Spain, mainly in the La Mancha region, and also in Murcia. In Spain, the melons are harvested from July to September. Where else in the world are these melons grown? When are they harvested? How do they look? How do they taste? Here's some information about Santa Claus melons.
► Family
Santa Claus melons belong to the Cucurbitaceae family and Inodorus group.
► Harvest
Spanish Melon
These melons are grown in California and Arizona, and their harvest period is from June to October. In Spain, these melons are harvested from July to September. During winter, they are imported from South America.
► Appearance
Piel De Sapo Melon
Oblong in shape, these melons have a thick and wrinkled rind that is green in color with yellow and dark green spots. These melons can grow up to 12 inches long and have a diameter of about 6 inches. They have green to white flesh and multiple seeds which are visible after cutting them open.
► Flavor
They have a subtle fragrance and a sweet and refreshing taste. Due to their thick skins, they do not give out a strong aroma.
► Choosing and Eating
Santa Claus Melon
To know if a Santa Claus melon is ready to be eaten, its firmness should be checked. It should not be too soft or too hard. If the fruit is ripe, its rind gives slightly under pressure and the flower end of the melon feels soft. A sweet smell indicates that the fruit is good. If the melon feels heavy, it means that it is juicy. To eat a Santa Claus melon, it should be washed and cut length-wise. The seeds should be discarded. It can be eaten as is, or used in salads and desserts.
► Nutrition
Santa Claus melons contain more than 90% water. They have very less calories. Their sodium content is very less and they are low-fat. They are cholesterol-free. Their potassium content is high, and they are a good source of vitamin C and dietary fiber.
► Health Benefits
Doctor Measuring Blood Pressure
They help regulate blood pressure levels and are thought to be of help in preventing strokes. Having this fruit after a strenuous workout can help the body recover faster. Owing to their low fat content, they can be safely consumed by anyone.
► Storage
These melons have a long shelf life. You can store them at room temperature till fully ripe, if you have bought unripe ones. The uncut ripe Santa Claus melon can be stored in the refrigerator. Cold storage can extend the shelf life of this melon, by slowing its ripening process. Once cut open, the melon needs to be refrigerated in a covered plastic container.
The Santa Claus melon looks like a small watermelon, is a close relative of the canary melon, and has a sweetish taste. Try it if you haven't yet. You might like it.