Melons belong to the cucurbitaceae family which also includes cucumbers, marrows and squashes. They are not particularly nutritious since 94 per cent of their flesh is water, but they are light and refreshing and not at all fattening since their sugar content is less than an apple.

Melons are often eaten at the beginning of a meal, sprinkled with sugar and ground ginger, and sometimes at the end as a dessert with other fresh fruit.

Melons must be eaten ripe, so they should be chosen carefully. When ripe they have a rather strong fragrance and will yield to slight pressure at the blossom end. Another sign of sweetness is to look for bee stings on the skin.

There are many different types of melon; HONEYDEW, CANTALOUP, OGEN and WATERMELON are perhaps the most popular.

Strong flavoured melons such as cantaloup should not be stored in the refrigerator because their fragrance penetrates other foods.

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