After last time’s disaster of a melon experience, we decided to pick up what people call the Chameh melon (or Korean melon). They’re really small, the size of a small orange. Today I didn’t have any milk, so I just drank the melon smoothie by itself, which is what I should be doing anyway. I will not be mixing milk with my smoothies anymore. 

Anyway, the smell of the melon, as with the honeydew, is deliciously sweet. It’s such a sweet, sweet nectar. It’s one of those aromas that you can smell and never get tired of it. Then again, I wouldn’t know, because I haven’t sat there all day smelling this fruit. The texture is what you would expect from a melon. It is a very airy fruit, so it’s light and fluffy when it’s blended. The flavor is sweet. The juice can absolutely be used as a sugar substitute, because it is so sweet. It’s a natural honey. As I was drinking the smoothie after it had time to set, some juice came out of the blend and it was amazing. Once I invest in a juicer, I really want to try the honeydew fruit to see how the juice version is. It would be a really refreshing summer drink. 

Similar to the cucumber, this is a refreshing fruit. I don’t think that this can be a negative for any smoothie. It will make any smoothie a little sweeter and a little more refreshing. It would be interesting to see how this flavor mixes with cucumber and banana. Time to experiment more!!

Pickled Korean Melon

Let me guess, you’re already turned off by the idea of pickled fruit. Now think about it: Would we post a recipe if we thought you wouldn’t like it? Come on, you know you want to try it…

While Korean cuisine is known for its delicious pickled and fermented foods, Koreans aren’t the only ones preserving food in vinegar. Pickled melons are actually a regional specialty of the American south where chunks of sweet and sour cantaloupe are welcomed as a refreshing summertime treat. Our recipe for Pickled Korean Melon combines ingredients and techniques from both traditions, resulting in a unique (and spicy!) fruit-based dessert.

A few of the ingredients in our recipe may be unfamiliar but we don’t want that to prevent you from trying something new. Let us explain…

Korean Melon. Known as chameh (참외) in Korean, these small melons are related to honeydews. They have a firm white flesh and a thin rind that can be removed with a vegetable peeler. Korean melons are quite small (1-2 servings) and look like a corrugated rugby football (yellow with white stripes). Their flavor is reminiscent of cantaloupe with notes of pear and melon. Choose Korean melons that are heavy for their size.

Gochugaru. Coarsely ground red chili pepper, gochugaru (고추가루) is an indispensible Korean pantry item. Earthy and slightly fruity, gochugaru is typically less spicy than Western crushed red pepper flakes.

Jujubes. The fruit of the Ziziphus jujuba tree goes by many names including jujube (not to be mistaken for the candy of the same name), red date, Chinese date, Korean date, Indian date and in Korean, daechu (대추). They are consumed throughout the Middle East and Asia and are therefore available at numerous ethnic groceries. Jujubes are usually sold dried and look like extra-wrinkly wine-colored dates. They have a crispy texture and a mild but tart apple flavor. In Korea they are commonly used to make a tea (daechucha; 대추차).

Let’s get cooking!

• 5 lbs (2.25 kg) Korean melons (chameh; 참외)
• 2 whole star anise
• 2 slices fresh ginger (approximately 2 tablespoons)
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 tablespoon gochugaru (고추가루)
• 4 jujubes (daechu; 대추)
• 3 cups white vinegar
• 2 cups water
• 3 cups sugar

Peel the melons, slice them in half and remove the seeds. Cut the melon into 1-2” cubes. In a large pot combine all ingredients except for the melon. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Allow the pot to boil for 5 minutes then remove from heat. Add the melon and jujubes, cover the pot and let stand.

After 1-2 hours remove the lid, bring the pot to a boil and then simmer (just below a boil) for 45-60 minutes or until the melon cubes are somewhat translucent around the edges. Remove the pot from the heat once again and allow the melon and liquid to come to room temperature. Transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate. Once chilled the pickled cantaloupe is good to eat though flavor improves after a few days.