Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Anyone heard of Fuzzy Melon?

The Ashland Farmers Market has many fine vendors. This season I have bought way too much handcrafted jewelry (at affordable prices, I might add) and pounds and pounds of gorgeous produce. One vendor from Flats Mentor Farm, features Asian produce. Flats Mentor Farm has created a wonderful situation to support small farmers of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Check out their website to read about this wonderful organization.

I always ask Nua, who runs the booth, for directions on how to use these vegetables I've never seen before. She has been very helpful. She is also happy that I am so willing to try new veggies. I've tried Pea Vines and loved them, and Bitter Melon which is really bitter! And most recently I've tried Fuzzy Melon. It runs from about 8 inches to 16 inches long and has a layer of fuzz on the outside of it. When the melon is young the fuzz rubs off with your finger but when it is more mature the skin needs to be peeled. I've only bought young ones so far.

Nua told me it is used in soup, even in summer! Sometimes it is peeled but I decided not to peel it since the peel was fairly thin.

I chopped it up and simmered it in some tomato water leftover from making ketchup. I tried to make ketchup and used whatever second quality tomatoes I could find at the farmers market. Problem was that we had huge rains just a few days before and the tomatoes were extra juicy. They were also Heirloom tomatoes rather than paste or sauce tomatoes. I learned my lesson as I only got 3 cups of ketchup from 15 pounds of tomatoes.

What I did get, however, was a gallon of watery tomato juice. I used this flavorful juice to simmer the fuzzy melon, which worked very well. Fuzzy melon, without much of its own taste, takes on the taste of whatever it is cooked with.

Here is the finished Fuzzy Melon in Tomato Juice. I read online that it is better to cook the whole thing rather than leave it uncut for very long. I used the whole melon and froze lots of it in portions in the juice. I believe it would be excellent in a crock pot stew, or in a bean pot. It is really delicious and I highly recommend trying it if you can find it!