Have You Tried: Santa Claus Melon

Have you tried a Santa Claus melon? We just picked one up from our local market. We love trying out new melons — they're in season from now until the end of the summer, and their intense sweetness is one of our favorite flavors this time of year. So we were curious about this variety of melon. What color would it be inside? Why is it called Santa Claus?

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The Santa Claus melon is about a foot in length, and it looks a bit like a watermelon. But it also has the webbing seen on muskmelons and honeydew, so it sort of looks like a mashup between several sorts of melons.

When we cut it open we found a pale, almost silvery flesh inside. In some lights it looked very pale orange, like a washed out muskmelon, and in other lights it looked as green as a honeydew.

It tasted intensely sweet, with a cool, refreshing flavor. It's hard to describe, but it was more crisp and less honeyed than honeydew melon. We definitely prefer this to honeydew, which we find a little overwhelming. It's not as full-bodied and rich as muskmelon, though, and they make a nice pairing, as in this big bowl of cut-up melon we took to a dinner party last weekend.

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And the name? Well, it turns out that these used to be principally imported from South America, so they would show up around December. Hence the name "Santa Claus," or, its other handle: "Christmas melon."

Have you tried this melon?

Related: How To Pick A Ripe Melon

(Images: Faith Durand)