Prescott Fond Blanc Melon
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Prescott Fond Blanc melons are medium to large in size, averaging 2 to 4 kilograms in weight, and have a flattened nature, compressed on the top and bottom and showcasing a broad, curved middle. The melons resemble warty winter squashes with a heavily ribbed and creased appearance. The melon's rind is thick, hard, and textured, covered in deep, segmented vertical ridges with warts, puffy bumps, and knobs. When young, Prescott Fond Blanc melons transition through shades of blue-green and then pale yellow, gold, to straw-colored at maturity. Depending on the growing environment, the ripe rind coloring may change with the climate. Underneath the surface, the bright orange flesh is dense, tender, and soft with a succulent, melting consistency. The flesh also encases a central cavity filled with flat, ivory, tear-drop-shaped seeds suspended between stringy, pale orange fibers. Prescott Fond Blanc melons release a honeyed, floral aroma when ripe and have a rich, sweet, and musky taste with subtle earthy nuances.
Prescott Fond Blanc melons are available in the summer through fall.
Prescott Fond Blanc melons, botanically classified as Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis, are a rare French variety belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family. The heirloom melon is a true cantaloupe cultivar and ripens approximately 70 to 95 days after sowing. The name Prescott Fond Blanc melons translates from French to mean "White Background melon," and this descriptor is used to highlight the variety's pale rind during the cultivation process. Prescott Fond Blanc melons were once a popular cultivar of the 19th century in French markets, and the melon was utilized in fresh and cooked culinary preparations. French growers favored the variety for its drought tolerance, growing the melon in hot and dry regions, and its ability to remain attached to the vine when ripe, labeled as a non-slip cultivar. In the modern day, Prescott Fond Blanc melons have faded from commercial production and are specialty melons grown by a small number of melon enthusiasts in Europe and the United States. Prescott Fond Blanc melons are valued for their thick, juicy, and sweet flesh and are sometimes mistaken in markets for a winter squash due to their warty, bumpy rind. The melons have a versatile flavor, lending themselves to sweet and savory recipes.
Prescott Fond Blanc melons are a source of vitamin K to support bone growth, potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, vitamin C to strengthen the immune system, and beta-carotene, an orange pigment in the melon's flesh converted into vitamin A in the body to maintain healthy organ functioning. The melons also provide fiber to regulate the digestive tract, magnesium to control optimal nerve functioning, and other nutrients, including folate, vitamin B6, niacin, and thiamine.
Prescott Fond Blanc melons have a sweet and musky flavor suited for fresh preparations. The variety can be sliced and consumed straight out of hand, chopped into sweet and savory salads, or used as an edible garnish for parfaits, porridge, acai bowls, and desserts. Prescott Fond Blanc melons are also pureed and frozen into ice creams, popsicles, or sorbets, used as a flavoring in puddings, tart fillings, and baked goods, or simmered into jams, syrups, and jellies. The heirloom melon can be used as a substitute for traditional cantaloupe in recipes and shines when served on cheese platters, wrapped in cured meats, or added to fruit medleys. Prescott Fond Blanc melons pair well with feta, ricotta, and goat cheeses, arugula, herbs including basil, mint, and cilantro, fruits such as citrus, blueberries, kiwis, and strawberries, and nuts such as pistachios, hazelnuts, and almonds. Once picked, it is recommended that Prescott Fond Blanc melons are left in the field or on the counter to ripen for 5 to 10 days before consumption. This melon keeps well at room temperature and is best consumed within a week of reaching ripeness. Cut melon slices will last up to three days when wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator.
Melons were used as inspiration for ice cream molds in 19th-century Europe. Ancient forms of ice cream were originally created in China, but around the 13th century, the icy recipes were introduced into Europe, where they became widely popular in France and Italy. Ice cream was initially reserved for the upper class, and small batches were handmade using molds in various shapes. In France, molds in the shapes of elaborate cakes, fruits, or vegetables, known as fromages glaces, were used to form the ice cream before it was served in the French courts. Melons, including Prescott Fond Blanc, were also occasionally used to create these molds. In the late 19th century England, famed businesswoman and chef Anges B. Marshall wrote two books about various frozen desserts, and she even owned the Marshall's School of Cookery in 1883, where she sold many different pewter ice cream molds in the shapes of animals, fruits, and vegetables.
Prescott Fond Blanc melons are thought to be native to France. The history of the melon is primarily unknown, but the variety was considered by experts to have been a favored home garden and French market cultivar in the 1860s. Some historians also believe the variety to be much older than the late 1800s, but there are no records to prove this theory. Prescott Fond Blanc melons were mentioned in the famous French seed company Vilmorin's Les Plantes Potageres, a book of vegetables written in 1883. The melons were later introduced to the United States in the late 1800s and were being widely grown by the 1850s. Today Prescott Fond Blanc melons are a rare, specialty melon sold through select growers and farmer's markets, mainly in the United States and Europe. The variety is also available for home gardening through online seed catalogs.
Recipes that include Prescott Fond Blanc Melon. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Tiny Inklings||Cantaloupe Sorbet with Mint and Port|
|Drizzle & Dip||Prosciutto Wrapped Melon with a Honey Mustard Vinaigrette|