The more common melons of summer--cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon--are fighting for space at supermarkets these days. They are surrounded not only by newer varieties of melons, such as the Sharlyn, but also by variations within their own families. Yellow watermelons sit side by side with their red-fleshed relatives; pink honeydews vie for a display spot with the delicate, green-fleshed variety. Only the colors have changed, however; the flavors are almost identical.
This is the time of year when, in addition to new varieties and variations on old themes, casabas, canarys, Cranshaws and Persians are also available. In any event, melon lovers should be in seventh heaven right now. Combining melons with other fruits--peaches, plums, berries, etc.--can be a satisfying solution to a cook's search for something different. Try serving melons as an appetizer or as a light luncheon salad. An unusual dressing of sour cream flavored with candied ginger and minty Cointreau will enhance a melon's fragile flavors. Or combine several different melons in a delicious sweet-and-sour relish that goes well with meats or poultry. Or use smaller melons as bowls for a breakfast feast that will start the day off with a nutritional boost. Our selection of tempting melon recipes can be found on the following page.
FRUITY APPETIZER KEBABS
1/2 cup sour cream 1/4 cup orange marmalade 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts Cantaloupe balls Strawberries Honeydew or Sharlyn melon chunks
Combine sour cream, marmalade and walnuts, mixing well. Chill. Thread cantaloupe balls, strawberries and honeydew chunks on bamboo skewers. Serve with a chilled dip.
1/2 cup cream Sherry or Madeira 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger 2 teaspoons lime juice 1 cup seedless grapes 1 cup orange chunks 8 apricots, quartered 1 peach, peeled and sliced 2 cups assorted melon balls 6 to 8 fresh mint sprigs
Combine wine, ginger and lime juice and let stand while preparing fruit. Place grapes, orange chunks, apricots, peach slices and melon balls in large bowl. Add wine mixture and toss lightly. Cover and chill. Toss again before serving. Garnish each serving with mint sprig. Serve as appetizer or accompaniment to meat or poultry. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
2 small cantaloupes 2 cups dark sweet cherries with stems 1/3 cup Sherry 1/3 cup sugar 1/3 cup lemon juice 1/4 cup minced mint leaves Lime wedges
Halve and seed cantaloupes. With a melon baller, scoop melon balls evenly just around top edges of melons. Reserve enough cherries with stems to fill holes left by melon balls. Cover cantaloupe halves with plastic film and chill. Pit and stem remaining cherries. Chill cherries and melon balls separately.
Combine Sherry, sugar and lemon juice and stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in mint. Cover and chill. At serving time, place cherries with stems into holes around edges of melons. Toss pitted cherries and melon balls with dressing. Fill cantaloupe centers with mixture. Garnish with lime wedges. Makes 4 servings.
SPICED MELON BALLS
1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed 1 stick cinnamon 3 whole cloves Dash nutmeg 1/2 bay leaf Peel of 1 lemon 1/2 cup cider vinegar or raspberry vinegar 1/2 cup apricot nectar 1/2 cup Port 1 quart assorted melon balls and chunks
Combine sugars, cinnamon stick, cloves, nutmeg, bay leaf, lemon peel, vinegar, apricot nectar and Port in saucepan. Simmer over low heat 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain. Place melon balls and chunks in 2 hot, sterilized pint jars. Bring strained syrup to boil, then pour over fruit. Seal according to canning lid instructions.
Cool, then store in refrigerator 1 week before using. Serve in fruit salads or as a fruit relish with meats. Makes about 6 to 8 servings.
Note: Suitable melons include casaba, Sharlyn, honeydew, cantaloupe, canary, Persian and Cranshaw. Watermelon should not be used.
GINGERED MELON CUPS
1 cup sour cream 1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger 2 tablespoons Cointreau or teaspoon peppermint extract 1 cup honeydew melon balls 1 cup watermelon chunks 2 small cantaloupes, halved and seeded
Combine sour cream, candied ginger and Cointreau, blending well. Chill thoroughly. Chill honeydew balls and watermelon chunks separately. Prepare cantaloupe just before serving. At serving time, drain and combine honeydew balls and watermelon chunks and heap in center of cantaloupe halves. Serve sour cream dressing on side. Makes 4 servings.
MELON BREAKFAST SUNDAE
1 cup sour cream1 tablespoon sugar1/2 teaspoon lemon juice1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or mace1 cup cottage cheeseWhole bran cereal or other fine-grained cereal3 small melons (cantaloupe, Sharlyn, Cranshaw or casaba), halved and seededWhole strawberries or sliced peaches or apricots Combine sour cream, sugar, lemon juice and nutmeg; whip until fluffy. Fold in cottage cheese. Spoon 3 or 4 tablespoons cereal into each melon half. Top with mixture and sprinkle with more cereal. Place strawberry on top as garnish. Makes 6 servings.