Back in the last century, when I was a child, watermelon was strictly a summer treat. Those juicy, giant, 20 lb. ovoids full of black seeds and suitable only for parties, since they never fit into the average home refrigerator. Watermelons were the taste of summer and my friend, Betsy’s favorite fruit. As far as I was concerned, the other melons readily available in those days– cantaloupes and honeydews– were something my mother’s friends ate with cottage cheese when they were on diets, which was regularly. That was then.
Today’s new melon varieties live up to the sensuous reputation associated with melons. You can still get the rock hard, tasteless cantaloupes and honeydews if you insist, especially in winter, which traditionally is out of season. But growers have been developing amazing varieties that go beyond the usual supermarket assortment.
My obsession since last year are “Kiss” family of melons—Sugar Kiss, Summer Kiss, Golden Kiss and Honey Kiss grown and marketed by Sandstone Melon Co. Of these, the Sugar Kiss is my favorite. It looks like a cantaloupe on the outside with webbing on the skin. The inside looks like a cantaloupe, too, but that’s where the similarities end. The flesh is soft and unbelievably juicy, so much so that when you eat it down to the rind you can still squeeze some juice onto your spoon and slurp it up. The flavor is rich and candy-like—a perfect dessert even for chocolate addicts.
The Summer Kiss originated in Israel. It’s slightly oval with yellow netted skin and juicy light green flesh. Its flavor is less flamboyantly sweet than the Sugar Kiss, but still a delicious treat. Try wrapping a wedge with a thin slice of smoked turkey or prosciutto, if you must. The Golden Kiss melon looks like the currently popular Tuscan melons with attractive green ribs and bright orange flesh. The Golden Kiss was developed from Galia and Charentais melons, which are popular in Europe. It has a firm, almost crunchy texture with intense aroma and flavor typical of heritage-style melons. The oval Honey Kiss melons have Chinese ancestry and were developed from the Hami melon variety. These have a slightly crisp texture, light salmon-colored flesh and a distinctively sweet honey aroma and flavor. Cut them into chunks and refrigerate for a delicious, healthy snack.
According to the Sandstone website, these luscious melons are available June through October, but I suspect they will be hard to find soon. Get them while you can. Oh, well, we’ll always have the memories. And something to look forward to next summer. Forget the cottage cheese.