It looks like a cantaloupe on the outside. It looks like a honeydew on the inside. Galia a hybrid melon (but not a honeydew cantaloupe cross), and I got a local one from the food co-op recently. It has a pretty subtle flavour: sort of like a cantaloupe, but without the musky taste. The texture is a little softer than a honeydew, but not as meaty as a cantaloupe. I like it, but it’s not blowing me away or anything.
The first summer squash of the season that I chose was yellow crookneck – this the best I could find readily available in Toronto last summer. The skin and flesh are tender even when fairly large, and even better it retains a subtle squash-y flavour when large as well; it’s not some bland generic zucchini. I don’t think it quite matches the sweet, nutty flavour of the Italian summer squash I grew in PEI, but it’s tasty raw and cooked. I grilled it for one meal, and ate it raw as squash “noodles” for another. The challenge for the summer will be to see if I can find any summer squash locally that beats last year’s best.
OK, so the winter squash, my first (curcubit) love, is long gone for the year, and it will be months until it returns*.
But, we soldier on, and there are summer squashes, melons, and other interesting squash relations to try.
Today I made winter melon soup, basically a simple, light scallion and ginger broth with shiitakes and cilantro, good for summer and also suitable for this subtle-flavoured melon. So, winter melon, aka ash gourd: once it was cooked in the soup, it just tasted like the broth but had a texture similar to raw cantaloupe. It was enjoyable but not earth-shattering. I wouldn’t mind eating it again, but probably won’t go out of my way. I did taste a chunk of it raw, and liked it a lot more – I could taste the fresh, delicate flavour sort of like an unsweetened honeydew melon but crunchy like a watermelon. I would use it in a fruit salad, or make a salsa of it with tomatoes and cilantro, or add it to a vegetable salad.
*On the plus side, one of my favourite squash farmers has planted (for the first time) and agreed to pre-sell me as many tiger stripe butternut squash as I want, come the Fall