Sunday, October 04, 2009

one thing

It's been quite a while since I added an item to my ongoing series

Doc Nagel's Top 100 Things

11. Melons. I just love 'em.

This morning I cut open what will likely be our last melon of the season. It's a small, "seedless" watermelon. It's been in storage a while, I can tell, because it's not as bright, the flesh isn't as clean and smooth, and there's just a hint of the beginning of fermentation in the sugar. Still, a good, sweet watermelon, on October 4, is nothing to dismiss.

I believe there are more than a dozen common melon varieties, many hybrids created from the basic melons. As a kid, I knew two, and only two: cantaloupe (which my mom always called "musk melon") and watermelon. I didn't encounter honeydew until I was in college. My favorite has always been watermelon. In fact, I don't understand people not liking watermelon. They make me wonder.

Lately, we've been alternating melons: watermelon one week, cantaloupe the next, then another watermelon, an orange flesh melon (which I think is a cantaloupe/honeydew hybrid), then watermelon, then a sharlyn, then another watermelon,... Occasionally, we'll grab the odd canary or crenshaw, or even a yellow watermelon.

One of the best things to do with melon is to cut them open, scrape the seeds out (of the "true melons"), and stuff your face with them. Another good thing to do is to carve them with a melon baller, then wrap each ball of melon with prosciutto, put them on a stick, and drizzle them with a reduction of good balsamic vinegar, a little sugar, and perhaps something like ruby port (all reduced to a thick syrup). Then stuff your face with them.

10. Fruit stands. I just love 'em.

Our local favorite fruit stand has already undergone its annual metamorphosis from summer fruit-a-rama-thon to pumpkin oasis, which is the first signal that they'll be closed for the season all too soon. We stop by for fruit generally twice a week from May to October, and essentially don't buy fruit from anywhere else except a farmers' market during that period. Then the bastards shutter up and go away from Halloween on, and we enter that dark, desperate period during which we plod hopelessly up and down the produce aisles, looking for anything that resembles actual food.

But don't cry for us, those of you living in climates that don't grow fresh fruits and vegetables for roughly 10 months of the year (except that, really, we can grow vegetables the other 2 months, too). We make do, somehow, with our recent memories of fruits gone by.

Ah, watermelon! We hardly knew ye!

1 comment:

Robert Kirkman said...

We sometimes wrap long wedges of cantaloupe with long, thin slices of prosciutto . . . but the vinegar/port reduction sounds sublime.