Come summertime, when the livin’ is easy,
I’m on the lookout for a few good melons. The sprite melon doesn’t disappoint – it’s
one of the sweetest melons on the market. The juicy, firm flesh of the sprite melon
is like a pear-honeydew hybrid, and it pairs perfectly with other fresh produce.
I am The Produce Lady, with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, and I want to introduce
you to the sprite melon, a relative newcomer to markets.
Sprite melons are a North Carolina original. N.C. State’s Specialty Crops Program introduced
the melon to farmers after tests showed it would grow well in our climate. Plus its sugar
content is 25 to 30 percent higher than other melons, giving growers a naturally sweet product
for you to enjoy. You can find sprite melons at farmers markets
from June through September. The melon is about the size of a grapefruit and weighs
only a pound or so, making it an easy snack size. Ripe melons will have a sweet fragrance
and are a pearl or pale yellow color with brown markings – called “sugar cracks”
– near the stem end. These stripes are a sign of optimal sweetness.
Summer is not complete without a fresh slice of melon. Sprite is best served naturally,
as crisp, cool pieces. You’ll need to remove the seeds, like you would with a cantaloupe,
using a spoon or other utensil to scoop out the center. Try sprite melons in fruit salads
or refreshing drinks like smoothies. This small melon packs a big flavor!
Try this sprite melon mousse for dessert. Mash 1 ½ cups sprite melon and sprinkle with
a dash of salt. Mix with 2 cups whipped topping, spoon the mixture into a container and freeze.
To serve, spoon into a dessert dish and garnish with mint leaves. Remember, before preparing
any dish with raw foods – wash your hands! Uncut sprite melons will continue to ripen
at room temperature. Keep cut fruit in sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to three
days. To freeze sprite melon, cut into slices and place the pieces on a cookie sheet using
wax paper to separate layers. Once frozen, put in plastic storage bags or containers
until ready to thaw and enjoy. Sprite melons are so good and sweet it’s
hard to believe they’re healthy, but they are! The entire melon has only 110 calories
and makes two delicious servings. And you can get 150 percent of your daily vitamin
C requirement from just one serving. Find more healthy recipes, videos and nutritional
information on fruits and vegetables at theproducelady.org.