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Elizabeth melons have a round to slightly oval shape and are relatively small, averaging 2 to 3 pounds. They have a thick outer rind like cantaloupe or honeydew and are bright yellow with a smooth texture. Their inner flesh is translucent white and gives off a sweet floral fragrance when fully ripe. The intensity of the aroma is a good indicator of Elizabeth melon’s maturity. When choosing Elizabeth melons, it is also better to pick ones that are heavy and dense, an indicator of their sweet juice content. They are well known to be among one of the sweetest melons on the market.
The Elizabeth melon is available from early spring into summer.
The Elizabeth melon is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family and of the species Cucumis melo, cultivator inodorus. Elizabeth melons are named after Queen Elizabeth, because they are considered to be the “queen” of all melons in terms of sweetness. Elizabeth melons were originally produced in Japan, but today its cultivation has spread throughout Asia. Outside of Asia the Elizabeth melon is known as a variety of Canary melon.
Elizabeth melons have a high sugar content, about 15%, and they are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and minerals. They also have the highest concentration of digestive enzymes of all melons. As a result, the Elizabeth Melon has been recognized to be beneficial in the treatment of intestinal diseases.
The Elizabeth melon is ideally suited for raw applications. Add the sliced flesh to salads and cold soups. Pureed, it can be used to make sauces, dressings, sorbets, beverages and fillings for desserts. Its sweet flavor pairs well with salty cured meats, fresh cheese, ginger, mint, hot chilies, citrus, honey and lychee. To store, keep uncut Elizabeth melons at room temperature until fully ripe, cut melon can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for three to five days.
The Elizabeth melon was first developed in Japan and remains a favorite cultivar still grown in the region today. It has very high adaptability and can withstand low temperatures, high moisture and lack of sunlight. Therefore, it was easily introduced all over Asia. Currently, the Elizabeth melon is the most cultivated thick-skinned melon in China. Due to the rich soil in areas north of the Yangtze River, Elizabeth melons are predominantly grown in Shandong and Hebei province.