Galia melons are hybrid variant of summer cantaloupes, first developed in Israel. The fruit characteristically features beige color, thick netted rind and soft, juicy, light green sugary flesh inside.
The fruit is quite popular in Europe and US for its juicy, aromatic and refreshing delicate pale green flesh. It is closely related to cantaloupes, muskmelons, charentias and ogen in the cucumis melo (gourd/cucumber) family.
Scientific name: Cucumis melo var. reticulates.
|Galia melon with sections. Note for round fruit with thick, patterned, yellow-brown skin and light-green flesh. Courtesy: Richard North|
Galia melon grows best on arid desert climate and well-draining sandy soil. Early on, the crop requires some moisture in soil to flourish. Like other melons, it runs along soil surface as a trailing vine and requires honeybees for fruiting.
Galia always comes in round shapes. The fruit is conspicuous by raised pattern of fine netting on its rough skin. At maturity, it attains 4- 6 inches in diameter and weighs about 2 lbs. Inside, pale green flesh is juicy, has a soft consistency with sweet, musky aroma that emanates best in the completely ripe fruits. Flesh encloses central cavity filled with a large number of pale, pointed seeds encased in a web of mucilaginous fibrils.
Yubari melon (Yubari king) is a special hybrid cultivar type grown in Yubari city in Hokkaido, Japan. Surrounded by mountains and well-drained volcanic ash soil, the produce commands special prize for its sweet mellow flavor.
Galia melons are very low in calorie, sweet and delicious summer melons. Their rich flavorful flesh composes just 34 calories/100g and very minute amounts of fats. Nonetheless, the fruit is rich in numerous health promoting polyphenolic plant derived compounds, vitamins, and minerals that are absolute for optimum health.
It is also rich in antioxidant flavonoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthin. These antioxidants have the ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen-free radicals and hence; offer protection against colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.
The fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin-A, (100 g provides 3382 IU or about 112% of recommended daily levels) one of the highest among cucurbita fruits. Vitamin-A is a powerful antioxidant and is essential for healthy vision.
Vitamin A and carotenes help for maintaining healthy mucosa and skin in humans. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin-A has been known to help protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid, selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eye where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective UV light-filtering functions. It, thus, offers protection of eyes from "Age-related macular degeneration" (ARMD) disease in the elderly.
Galia melon is good source of electrolytes, particularly potassium. 100 g fruit provides 267 mg of this electrolyte. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids and helps control heart rate and blood pressure. It thus offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.
The fruit also contains moderate levels of B-complex vitamins, such as niacin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin C, and minerals like manganese. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.
Minerals in Galia melon take part in metabolic functions inside human body. Manganese is used as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Commercially, Galia melon are being used to extract an enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), which plays a vital role as a first-line antioxidant defences in the human body.
Galia melons grow best during summer months. They should feel heavy for their size, and give off a pleasant, sweet aroma. Like all muskmelons, Galia must ripen on the vine before harvesting for sugar content to reach its peak.
Oftentimes, to judge the ripeness and flavor; gently press the stalk end with your thumb, it should give a little. Ripe melons should feature firm rind that is neither overly shiny nor lustreless, without any cuts or bruises on the surface, which might have occurred while transporting the fruit.
Ripe melons are best kept in cool airy, dry place. If keeping in the refrigerator, wrap in clear film.
At home, place them in cool, well-ventilated place. Cut sections, however, should be kept in the refrigerator.
At home, wash the whole fruit in cold running water thoroughly before using. Depending on the size you desire, the fruit can be sliced, cubed or scooped into balls.
|Melon melon balls! Photo courtesy: sethbaur|
Here are some serving tips:
Enjoy fresh galia melon "as is" without any seasonings to savour its delicious, aroma-filled natural sweet taste.
The fruit's sections/scoop balls can be cubed and added to fruit salad.
It can be employed to prepare jam, sorbet, and juices are some nutritious and delicious items you can prepare with muskmelon
Galia melons are safe to consume in pregnancy and nursing mothers. Allergic reactions to them are not common. However, being a member of Cucurbitaceae family, some fruits may carry cucurbitacin toxin. For the same reason, avoid unripe/bitter tasting melons. (Medical disclaimer).
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Further Reading and Resources:
Stanford School of Medicine Cancer information Page- Nutrition to Reduce Cancer Risk.
Specialty melons-University of Kentucky -PDF.