I was never a huge fan of melons, until I found one fruit in this group that I really enjoy: Golden Crispy Melon. Lots of fruit enthusiasts really love honeydews and cantaloupes and the like, and although I do find them pleasant, but I don’t get more than lukewarm about those varieties because they all have that, um, melon flavor. Somehow it’s a taste that just doesn’t excite me.
Golden Crispy melon, on the other hand, doesn’t have the “melon flavor” – instead it has a mild, sweet, fruity taste. Additionally, the flesh of this variety has a texture that’s quite unlike other melon varieties I’ve eaten – it’s actually crisp, almost like eating an apple. And the skin is so thin you can eat this melon skin and all. I even find the pulp around the seeds in the central core to be sweet and enjoyable to eat – the seeds are so small they’re not objectionable to swallow whole.
The whole experience of eating this melon reminds me more of eating a tree fruit than a vine fruit. It’s a nice addition to the “fruit calendar” during a time of year, early summer, when there aren’t a lot of other local fruits ripening in my area (although just a few hours’ drive south of here, this is mango season!).
I know that some people really enjoy the “musky” flavor of other melons, and I’ve heard some of those melon fans say they find Golden Crispy to be kind of bland to their tastes. Fair enough. If you’re a hardcore melon enthusiast who really loves the flavor of honeydew or cataloupe, you might find this variety lacking in exactly the taste you enjoy. To me, Golden Crispy is more of a “melon for people who don’t like melons”.
Golden Crispy Melon takes about three to four months from seed to produce ripe fruit. The vines will happily climb a trellis, or sprawl out over the ground to yield their golden crop. Here in North Florida, they seem to do best planted in March and April, which results in ripe fruit in June and July. It’s possible to plant later here and still get a harvest, but they are a bit more subject to leaf diseases and insects burrowing into the fruit during our hot, humid summers. I’ve heard that in areas further from the equator than Florida, these grow well during the summer months. I’m guessing they can grow successfully closer to the equator, too, although in humid lowland areas they might be best planted to avoid growing in the most rainy and humid times of the year.
Golden Crispy is just one of a group of Asian crispy melons. It’s the only one from this group which I have extensive experience with, but I’d love to try others to see how they compare.
There are lots of vendors online selling the seed of Golden Crispy Melon if you want to try growing it yourself.