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Sakata’s Sweet melon is a smaller, softball-sized melon with a grey-green skin that turns a yellow-green color when ripe. The shape is not quite round, with a distinct pucker at the stem base. Whereas most melon stems will detach from the plant when ripe, the stem of the Sakata’s Sweet melon must be cut from the plant as soon as the leaves begin to discolor. The edible skin of the heirloom melon is thin and the yellow-green flesh is crisp and fragrant. Sakata’s Sweet melon looks much like a honeydew melon in coloring and has a similar flavor profile. The flesh is juicy with a texture that can be somewhat grainy.
Sakata’s Sweet melons are available year-round in sub-tropical and tropical areas with a peak season during the summer months.
Sakata’s Sweet melons are an heirloom variety of Cucumis melo that have grown in China and Japan for thousands of years. The small melons were re-branded and introduced to the present day market by the Sakata Seed Company of Japan, taking its name from the company. In the United States, the melons can sometimes be found in Asian markets as “Asian Green melon”.
Sakata’s Sweet melon is often eaten raw similarly to honeydew melons. In some Asian cultures the melons are harvested when just slightly under-ripe and used for pickling, adding the perfect balance of sweet and sour to chicken curry salads. Cut into wedges for a sweet summer snack or into bite-sized pieces to add to fruit or savory salads. The flesh blends nicely into a smooth consistency for beverages and chilled soups. The Sakata's Sweet melon will keep at room temperature for up to a week once ripe. Cut melon should be kept refrigerated and consumed within four days.
Only recently appearing in American markets, Sakata’s Sweet melons were grown in Japan and China for centuries. The seeds for this heirloom melon were released by the Sakata Seed Co. in Yokohama, Japan. The seeds have found a market with home gardeners in both the United States and abroad.