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Takami melons are a relatively small to medium-sized variety that has a uniform, oval to elliptic shape. The hard rind has a variegated base of dark green and yellow and is covered in a rough, slightly raised, light brown netting. Underneath the rind, the flesh is dense, thick, smooth, and pale green to white, encasing a central cavity filled with many tan, flat seeds. Takami melons are highly fragrant with a light, floral aroma and have a crisp and juicy consistency with a mild, sweet flavor.
Takami melons are available in the spring through early summer in Japan.
Takami melons, botanically a member of the Cucumis genus, are carefully cultivated fruits on sprawling vines and are members of the Cucurbitaceae family. Considered a specialty variety in Japan, Takami melons are hand-grown in highly controlled conditions for optimum flavor and have a high sugar content, averaging sixteen Brix on the Brix Scale, which is measurement used in the culinary industry. Consumers favor Takami melons for their sweet flavor and firm flesh, which allows the melon to be stored for an extended period without spoiling. These melons are also a popular gift to exchange with family, friends, and coworkers in Japan.
Takami melons are a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and K and contain some iron and calcium. The melons also contain antioxidants which help protect overall health, and the juicy nature of the flesh is believed to having a cooling effect on the body, soothing inflammation and digestive issues.
Takami melons are best suited for fresh eating as their firm texture, and delicate, sweet flavor are showcased when consumed raw. They are most commonly sliced and consumed as a snack, sliced in half and served as an edible breakfast bowl, utilized as a dessert, or sliced and tossed into fruit salads and green salads. Takami melons can also be displayed on appetizer platters with other fruits, cheeses, and chocolates, blended into smoothies, or drizzled in chocolate and consumed as a sweet treat. Takami melons pair well with herbs such as mint, cilantro, and parsley, lemongrass, chile pepper, ginger, and fruits such as pineapple, kiwi, apples, strawberries, and cucumbers. The melon will keep up to one week when stored at room temperature and up to two weeks when stored in the refrigerator. When sliced, the melon pieces should be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for two days.
Takami melons are grown in Iioka, Japan, which was also the first city to produce the variety and is known for its ideal climate for growing melons. Iioka has developed a reputation for high-quality fruits as the farmers undergo extensive cultivation practices to create a uniform, aesthetically pleasing melons with rich flavors. Takami melons are marketed in Japan with the phrase, “Noble taste, Iioka Takami Melon,” and are considered a luxury fruit in the commercial marketplace.
Takami melons are native to Japan where they were created in 1990 at the Japan Horticultural Production and Research Institute. A cross between multiple hybrid melons, Takami melons are found at specialty grocers in Japan and may also be found at select retailers in other parts of Asia.