fuzzy melon

Of Chinese origin, this cylindrical (6 to 10 inches long, 2 to 3 inches thick) gourd has a medium green skin covered with fine, hairlike fuzz, which it gradually loses as it ages. Its creamy-colored, medium-firm flesh is mildly flavored and has a tendency to take on the flavor of whatever food it's cooked with. Fuzzy melons—also called hairy melons, hairy cucumber, mo gwa and fuzzy squash—can be purchased in Asian markets and some specialty produce markets. Choose those that are fairly heavy for their size with wrinkle-free skins. Store ripe melons in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Fuzzy melons must be peeled before using. They're a popular addition to Chinese soups and stir-fry dishes.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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