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casaba melon

Pronunciation: [kah-SAH-bah]

Though it was first cultivated in Persia thousands of years ago, the casaba melon wasn't introduced to the United States until the late 19th century when it was imported from Kasaba, Turkey. This large, round muskmelon (see melon) has a thick yellow rind with deep, rough furrows. The creamy-colored flesh is extremely juicy and has a distinctive yet mild cucumberlike flavor. Casabas are now grown in California and are most readily available from May through September, though some can be found up until December. Choose a melon with an even-colored yellow rind with a slightly wrinkled appearance; it should give slightly when gently pressed at the blossom end. Avoid casabas with soft spots or mold. Store at room temperature until completely ripe, then refrigerate.