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Kharbooza varies from medium in size like an orange to large like a volleyball and is typically oblong to round in shape. The hard rind also ranges in color from yellow, green, to orange with mottling, spots, and stripes. The pale green to white flesh is moist, dense, and contains many small, flat, tan seeds encased in slippery juice in the center of the melon. Kharbooza has a distinct, musky floral scent and is crisp and juicy with a mild, bitter-sweet taste.
Kharbooza is available year-round.
Kharbooza, botanically classified as Cucumis melo, is the Hindi and Urdu word for muskmelon and is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family along with squash and gourds. Kharbooza is distinguished by its colorful, tiger-striped rind and bitter flesh and is most commonly used in curry or is battered and fried in India.
Kharbooza contains some vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and fiber.
Kharbooza is best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as boiling, stir-frying, and frying. It is typically cooked with Indian spices such as cumin, turmeric, garam masala, or coriander, and is made into curries or mashed and fried. It can also be cooked and blended into soups, stews, or sliced and served raw in green and fruit salads. Kharbooza pairs well with mint, basil, dill, lemongrass, watermelon, mango, coconut, kiwi, pineapple, peaches, limes, cardamom, and nutmeg. Kharbooza will keep up to a week when stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Sliced Kharbooza can be wrapped in plastic or stored in a sealed container for 1-2 days in the refrigerator.
In India, Kharbooza and other muskmelons are commonly sliced and served with sugar and cardamom as a snack or sweet treat. In Ayurvedic medicine, muskmelons are believed to have a cooling effect on the body. The fruit is used to help with ailments like constipation, bladder infections, and to help stabilize blood pressure. Muskmelons are also considered to have soothing effects on the digestive system according to the traditional Chinese medicine health system.
The exact origin of muskmelon is unknown, but Kharbooza melons are native to India and were first cultivated in the 1600s. Today Kharbooza melons can be found at fresh local markets in northern and central India.
Recipes that include Kharbooza. One is easiest, three is harder.
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