If you have been following my instagram, reading my blog, one of those that I rattled off about our homegrown Chamae (haha!), curious or non-curious folk likewise, here you go!
We’ve finally enjoyed the fruit of our harvest today – homegrown Chamae #1. All the credit goes to my parents, whom have been taking care of/raising (haha) the plant, and hopefully there are more to come!
A brief background on Chamae – the Korean melon/ Chamoe/ 참외 is a type of melon primarily cultivated in Korea, Japan and China. The typical size of it is 10 cm long, 0.45 kg (next time I will measure and weigh it!). Smooth, yellow and oblong in shape, with white stripes running the length of the fruit. On the inside, its flesh is white and the seed cavity is filled with small white seeds. In Korea, there is apparently the Yeoju Geumsa Oriental Melon Festival 여주 금사참외축제 around end May/early June!
How did it all started for us? We first ate the chamoe in Jeju in 2012. Without knowing what it actually was, we thought it has a pretty interesting taste – not too sweet thought we couldn’t quite decide if it is a fruit or vegetable. We kept some of the seeds (mum loves gardening!) and forgot all about it. Fast forward to mid this year, after our #31KoreaDays, we bought chamoe from our local supermart and again kept the seeds. Together with the perilla and Korea chilli seeds, Mum decided to plant the chamoe using the seeds from this year (she also realised she threw away those from 2012 as she couldn’t recall what seeds were they haha) in a medium-size pot. I wasn’t too optimistics about harvesting a chamoe – because it is not a leaf like basil or perilla, but a fruit! For the first 3- 4 months, there were lots of leaves, and some flowers. Nobody noticed there is a fruit popping out somewhere among the leaves until someone else spotted it and told us! Subsequently, my mum placed a bucket (filled with sponge no less haha!) under it, just in case it will fall off the stem! Patiently, we waited for it to turn yellow from green (which looks like a watermelon!). We harvested it on 18.11.2014 and enjoyed it today, 23.11.2014.
How did it taste like? We each had about a quarter of it, and it is slightly sweet and juicy, and super duper crunchy! Some said it tasted like a cross between a honeydew and cucumber. I thought it is the super crunchy version of a honeydew that isn’t that sweet (duh @@).
We aren’t going to be farmers overnight but it certainly has been a fun journey – our family’s whatapps periodically was filled with updates on the journey of our 1st ever chamoe, whilst perilla never gotten much attention in contrast! And this certainly makes a good ice breaker – ever grown your own chamoe? ^^
Anything fun we should plant next? Let me know!
P/S: Sorry for the poor quality photos, I’ve been in the lazy mode recently! I’ve been relying on the photos that my dad took and some were photos from my instagram.