In this article, we'll tell you everything you need to know about winter melon, including what it tastes like, how the texture is and what you can do with it in your vegan recipes.
Let's take a look...
What Does Winter Melon Taste Like?
Winter melon might be called a melon, but it's actually a squash. The fully ripened yellowish to green "melon" is incredibly mild in flavor, a little like cucumber. Some would even call it somewhat tasteless, but this is exactly why it's such a good base for soups—it absorbs the flavors it's immersed in.
While it's still young and not quite ripe, winter melon is more like cantaloupes and honeydews in that it's a little sweet. However, it's the mature winter melon that's sought after for cooking in savory recipes.
Winter Melon Texture
The outer skin of the winter melon is waxy while the flesh is dense, crisp and water-rich like a watermelon. However, it's not generally eaten raw, but cooked.
The moist, rich texture becomes more noticeable as the gourd undergoes the cooking process. It becomes nice and tender like any other winter squash.
Can You Eat Winter Melon Skin?
You wouldn't want to try to eat the rind of the winter melon because, like cantaloupe or watermelon, it's just too tough to bite into.
That being said, some people do save the skin and use it as an herbal supplement. It may be dried, powderized and ground up. But don't feel bad if you toss the rind—most people do.
Can I Freeze Winter Melon?
Considering that cooked winter melon is preferred over raw, it makes sense that you can freeze it without damaging the texture. You can simply slice up the white flesh, place it in a container and tuck it away in your freezer until you're ready to use it.
Storing winter melon this way is a good way of prolonging its shelf life, but keep in mind that it can last for several months (unopened) if kept in a cool, dry area.
How Do You Prepare Winter Melon?
Since soup is a very traditional way of preparing winter melon, we thought we'd share a quick video with you that shows you how it's done (the vegan way).
This is a recipe for a Chinese winter melon soup called don gua. It's a clear soup that's great for an appetizer or a light lunch. Here are the ingredients:
- Winter melon
- Szechuan peppercorns
- Fresh coriander or cilantro
- Green onions
- Wood ear mushrooms (or similar mushrooms)
- Vegetable stock
- Sesame oil
Winter melon is a very mild-tasting gourd that's eaten cooked rather than raw, usually in soups. Try some traditional vegan versions of popular winter melon soup recipes, but don't hesitate to try it in curries, too.