Wegman's supermarket came through again. Because of course it did--it's the best grocery I've ever experienced. I was strolling through the produce section when I saw something odd. It looked like a smallish melon, only yellow in color. It's outer rind was smooth like a watermelon's. The name was peculiar, too--a Juan canary melon.
Once I got it home, I did a little reading. Its origins are a bit mysterious. One website theorized that it was Persian in origin. Wherever it started, now it's grown elsewhere. It's a sensitive plant, needing a hot and arid climate, and is particularly susceptible to mildew, sun damage, and plant diseases in general. Brazil is currently a major producer of them, and that's where mine hailed from. The "canary" part of the name is simply due to its canary yellow hue. Alternately it's known as just a canary melon, or a winter melon. Like many melons it's high in fiber, and has significant amounts of Vitamins A and C.
Eating the Juan canary melon was pretty easy. I used a sharp knife, but I think even a dull butter knife would have done the trick in cutting it open. As is common with melons (except watermelons) the inner core contained a space with all the seeds, which were suspended in kind of a lattice-work. Some websites mentioned roasting and eating these seeds, but, not surprisingly, this non-chef didn't bother with all that noise. The inner flesh was a light greenish/whitish color. The texture was soft and wet, like a watermelon. A spoon was sufficient to scoop out the flesh. The taste, for me, was okay. Sweeter than a cantaloupe or honeydew, and also better than watermelons. But, there's a huge caveat: I'm not a melon guy. I flat out don't like the taste of honeydews and cantaloupes, and watermelon is so, well, watery and essentially tasteless that I don't see the point. Since I was home for the holidays, I gave some to my parents to try. And their reaction indicated that taste in fruit is not genetic: They raved about the Juan canary melon, really loved it. There was even talk about asking the local supermarket if they'd consider stocking them. So, all in all, it appears that if you like melons, there's a good chance you'll really be impressed with the Juan canary type. If you don't than it probably won't change your mind.
I do, though, really like the concept of giving melons people names. Perhaps we should rename them "Vladimir watermelons." Or for fans of alliteration, "Cornelius cantaloupes." "Hezekiah honeydews." You get the idea.