If you follow my blog and have looked at some of my other fruit posts, you know that I love fruit and especially melons. In this article, I talk all about the Santa Claus Melon, also known as the Christmas melon, or Piel de Sapo.
Learn all about the amazing Santa Claus melon, where it comes from and where it grows, what the nutritional benefits are, how to eat it, and what it tastes like. It has some cool unique properties to it, which I will point out down below. There is a reason for its cool name. On to the information!
Where does the Santa Claus come from and where does it grow?
The Santa Claus melon, Piel de Sapo, or Christmas melon originated in Spain and is a cultivar of Muskmelon. It grows to be about a foot long and usually oblong in shape. It has a thick rind that resembles a toad skin, hence the name Piel de Sapo.
So why is it called, Santa Claus melon? It got this English name, because of its long storage qualities. You could pick it in late September through October and it would keep until Christmas.
The melon is cultivated all over the Northern hemisphere, of course in Spain. In the United States, they are grown in California and Arizona. They like the heat! The Santa Claus melon is also cultivated in South America, particularly Brazil, and also in Australia.
What are the nutritional benefits?
The Santa Claus Melon, like other melons, has many nutritional benefits:
- Low in calories
- High in Vitamin C and Vitamin A
- High in Potassium
- Good souce of dietary fiber
How to eat Santa Claus Melon
To tell if the fruit is ripe it should have a little give to it when you press on the stem ends, very similar to other melons. Because its rind is thick, the melon doesn’t give off an aroma when ripe. So it is hard to tell by smelling it.
Some varieties will be a bright yellow color as well when ripe.
There are several ways to eat a Santa Claus melon or Piel de Sapo. You can treat it like most other melons. Begin by cutting it in half.
Then use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds. You can throw them out, or save them and grow them in your garden. You don’t eat these seeds like you do the Korean Melon.
Now you can just eat it like that, a bowl of fruit. Take your spoon and scoop out the flesh. Or if you are making a fruit salad you can use a melon baller and scoop out balls of fruit.
Or you can cut it lengthwise into strips which is what I normally do. Then you can hold it and eat it that way. Or if you like you can run your knife along the skin and remove that, then cut it into melon chunks.
However you want to eat it, you can’t go wrong.
What does the Santa Claus or Christmas melon taste like?
First off the Santa Claus melon is incredibly juicy and succulent. I think it is nearly 90% water. The taste is very similar to a Canary Melon. It is fairly soft, not as crisp as a canteloupe or even a Honeydew, although crispness will vary between each melon as well. It is extremely pleasant and refreshing. And very easy to eat with a spoon.
One thing I notice is that they are not quite as sweet as a canteloupe with a milder flavor. Overall if you like Honeydew you will enjoy this melon as well.
If you are a fan of melons give these a try. First, look in your local supermarket during the fall season, if you don’t find them there, try the farmer’s market or an Asian market.
Watch the video I made about the Piel de Sapo or Santa Claus Melon!
Here are other recipes and articles you may find interesting: