Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fruit of the Month: Gaya melon

Late spring is kind of a dry season for fruit. Fresh veggies are plentiful; our garden is producing lots of lettuce and snow peas, and we're still harvesting the odd spear of asparagus. But most fruits—blueberries, peaches, cherries—don't really become abundant until later in the summer, and last year's crop of apples and pears is long depleted by now. When I finally made it down to the opening day of our local farmers' market last Friday, the only fruit I found on offer was $6-a-carton strawberries.

So, when my supply of fresh fruit ran out yesterday, I made a trip out to the HMart to see if I could find anything appetizing. And that's where I ran across this little specimen: Gaya melon. I'd never heard of it before, but as you can tell from the picture, it's roughly coconut-sized, with a pale-green rind speckled with darker green. Inside, the flesh is whitish, with a soft, seed-filled center.

A site called The Produce Guide describes the flavor of a Gaya melon as "a gentle mix of banana and pear," but to me it tasted more or less like honeydew, only with a less dense texture. It's very soft and sweet toward the center, growing crisper and slightly tart toward the rind. It's extremely refreshing on a hot day. My plan was to eat only a quarter of it to start with, but instead I found myself gobbling down the second quarter immediately after finishing the first.

The Produce Guide notes that Gaya melon makes "a good background fruit for a fruit salad with raspberries and blueberries," but I doubt I'll be able to put this one to any such use, since as I noted, the raspberries and blueberries won't be ripe around here for another month or so. Of course, if I had waited for the Gaya itself to be in season locally, rather than buying one shipped up from Florida or somewhere, I probably could get all three at the same time—and maybe I will, if I can find all three ingredients for less than a couple of limbs. But for now, I think the rest of this Gaya melon is going to go the same way as the first half, and quite speedily. And once it's gone, I'll definitely be keeping my eye out for more of the same—especially if I can find any grown locally.

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