Winter melons have a cloudy, pale green flesh that resembles snow – hence the name. These melons have a dark green skin and tan seeds in the center. Winter melons are quite large. They have the potential to grow over 15 inches in diameter and can weigh over 30 pounds. As they’re so big, winter melons are typically sold in slices. They are seldom eaten raw and are primarily utilized in warm, spicy soups and stews.
When winter melons are cooked, they become clear and translucent. They have a soft texture and maintain a mild, refreshing mouthfeel. Like most all melons, this variety has a cooling nature, which makes it a soothing remedy for everyday symptoms related to excess heat conditions.
Use in Kitchen
Winter melon can be added in soups, stews, stir-fries, and braised dishes. This melon by itself has no distinct flavor and can be rather bland, however, the porous texture can absorb flavors quite well. As such, it is commonly prepared with chicken or pork, and paired along with other strong, aromatic spices to create a dynamic flavor profile. One classical soup recipe utilizes the rind of the melon both to cook in and serve from. The chef would steam the soup inside the melon rind as a bowl and serve it directly to the patron.
Winter melon can also be used in sweets or prepared as candy. Contemporary recipes will use it in yogurt smoothies or simply blended with other melons, apples or pears. When preparing pure winter melon juice, the flesh is pureed and strained then lightly seasoned to taste with pepper, salt, and lemon juice.
Winter melons are primarily used to target the lungs, the liver, the gallbladder, the kidneys and the urinary bladder. Traditional Chinese Medicine maintains the cooling texture and white colored flesh sooth and lubricate the lungs. The cold nature can also reduce liver heat and regulate the bile which passes through the gallbladder. Moreover, the high water content is great for cleaning the kidneys, and by virtue, the entire ureter line down through the urinary bladder and urethra. Winter melons are also believed to break down excess mucous and phlegm and are especially good for clearing toxic heat from the body.
Most people can easily consume winter melons. Depending on the climate, winter melons can be enjoyed seasonally through late summer, fall, and early winter. People who have conditions such as hypertension, liver cirrhosis, coronary heart disease, hypertension, or edema should eat more winter melon whenever they are local, seasonal, and fresh.
Due to the cooling effect of winter melon, people with chronic digestive issues, spleen deficiency, and/or slow metabolism should avoid consumption. Those with cold extremities, weak blood, or excess dampness should not be consuming winter melon either. Moreover, it’s both a mild diuretic and an antipyretic, therefore it would not be wise to take alongside pharmaceutical medications that also have these effects. To be certain if this medicinal food is right for you, make sure to consult your nutritionist.