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Harvest of the Month

August - Melons

Melons
There's nothing quite like biting into a slice hydrating watermelon on a hot August day. This sweet, juicy, fleshy fruit is part of the Cucurbitaceae family, and botanically speaking, is actually a berry. Originating in Africa and hot climates of South Asia, the melon was one of the first crops brought to North America. Today, there are many varieties of melon including our favorite muskmelon, watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon. Melons are delicious cut up and eaten plain, blended into a smoothie, or in a fruit salad. Just a one-cup serving provides 5 percent, or more of the daily value needs for vitamin K, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, magnesium, and potassium. So grab a bite of melon this summer and stay cool and healthy!

History
Muskmelons (like cantaloupe & honeydew) originated in Southeast Asia. They were one of the first cultivated fruits and were introduced to Europe during the Bronze Age. Watermelon is originally from southern Africa and there is evidence of its cultivation in the Nile Valley from the year 2,000 BC onward.

Benefits
Melons are nutritious fruits that have high levels of vitamins A, B6 and C and are high in antioxidants, amino acids and potassium. They also have a high water content, which aids in digestion.

Varieties
The most common types of melons in grocery stores are honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon. Aside from the standard pink-fleshed watermelon, other varieties have yellow flesh (like the Early Moonbeam), orange flesh (like the Desert King), or even white flesh (like the White Wonder)! Muskmelons (such as honeydew and cantaloupe) come in a huge variety as well. Their flesh ranges from white to yellow/orange, to green and their shape can be similar to a cucumber or more oval shaped. Their outside skin can vary from light to dark as well.

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