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Melon Seeds

Man has known of the existence and uses of melons since the past 4000 years and today, a wide variety of melons are known to exist around the world. The melon is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family with its characteristic fleshy fruits. Thought to be originally from the Middle Eastern region, the melon seeds were transported to the Americas by Columbus and the Spanish explorers. In India, these cooling and nutritious fruits are found in abundance during the summer time. **Being lower in calories and having high water content, the melon is a refreshing and healthy food.

The melon seed is, generally, a grayish white hard shell with a white inner kernel, which is soft and oval in shape. The seeds of the melon are rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, fats and other

nutrients. It lacks any distinct scent but has a nutty and sweet taste. The melon seeds are used in baking, dressing of bread cake, confectionery, supari, sweets, refreshing drinks and snack foods. They can also be directly consumed after roasting.
   

Plant Cultivation and Description
The tender annual melon plants flourish in sandy, well drained and rich soils. It requires moderate access to water and sunlight. The melon plant extends deep down into the earth to recover water from the soil. The plants are adequately spaced out in the fields and take a long time to reach maturity. Essentially classified as creepers, the fruits of the plant start to appear within four months of planting of the seeds. Measuring around 20 inches in diameter, the melon fruit is large in size and its seeds are edible. The fertile seeds need not be thrown away, rather it can be planted in the future. The colors of the fruits from the melon family vary from a creamy color to a greenish shade. Melons are grown around the world and, particularly, in India during the summers. This warm-season crop is highly popular in India and numerous varieties of melons are grown indigenously.

 

Uses
The seeds are used for preparing delicious sweets and snacks. They can be added to traditional halwas and fruit fudges for enhancing the flavors. The melon seeds can also be used as mouth fresheners when it is mixed with nuts and spices. A paste of melon seeds are added to spicy meat dishes to thicken its consistency. The hard flesh of the melon fruit is not wasted either and is used to season flour for making exotic breads. Melon seeds are laid out for drying, cleaned and these are then, processed and sold commercially. It is the white melon seeds which are used in Indian cooking and not the water melon seeds. White melon seeds are fried and then used in making various types of cakes. These are used to make anthelminthics which is an effective and chemical side-effects free

herbal medicine. Another innovative usage for melon seeds is in cereals and fruit puddings. The seeds are sold in the shell or peeled for later usage.