The last month of summer is the time for harvesting vegetables, melons and gourds. Ripe pomegranates, nuts and grapes are already waiting for their turn. But most of the work goes on melons – the collection of a generous harvest of fleshy pumpkins, juicy watermelons and sugar melons.
Once upon a time, these golden fruits with honey pulp were transported in caravans along the roads of the Great Silk Road to China, India, and Europe. Assimilating different countries, melons adapted to unfamiliar conditions and new local varieties appeared. And since the 90s of the XIX century, melons have been present at exhibitions and fairs in Russia and Europe.
Since the “age” of the melon is respectable, and it is cultivated everywhere except Antarctica, the varieties of the melon are huge. Turkmenistan is the land of melons of such well-known varieties as “gulyabi”, “garrygyz”, “gurbek”, “vakharman” and many others.
Gourmets have appreciated the exquisite taste of the gurbek dessert melting in your mouth. A representative of the Gulyabi variety, well-known in the former USSR, was lucky enough to star in the film “Station for Two”, albeit under the pseudonym “Charzhuiskaya melon”.
Early and late, large and miniature fragrant melons adorn the Turkmen markets from mid-summer to winter. And the secret of the exquisite and unsurpassed taste of Turkmen melons is not only in the soil and climatic conditions and irrigation regime, but also, above all, in the selection work of many generations of specialists.
The Uzakbayev family, living in the Gubadag region, are hereditary melon growers who have dedicated their lives for several generations to breeding new varieties of melons and watermelons, and improving existing ones.
According to Dovletbai Uzakbayev, in order to grow juicy watermelons and fragrant melons, you need to choose the right variety, observe crop rotation and not “save” on the aisles.
In Central Asia they say: “Melon makes cheeks ruddy, teeth strong, hair silky, and eyes young.” Is this not why many Eastern historians and sages praised this sweet fruit in their works?
In the East, many legends are told about the melon. One of them says that the melon has its own patron – Mezid. A mythical creature – either a melon grower, or an angel, or a gin … They say that he was the first to grow melons and taught this art to others, for which he was imprisoned.
It is not surprising that the melon has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. Avicenna considered melon a medicine against many diseases, they even made compresses for angina and bronchitis from melon peels.
Oriental melon dishes – halva and various jams, candied fruits and just long slices of fruit dried in the sun – are served to the guest with tea both before and after the main meals – rich soup and aromatic pilaf.
Not everyone knows that even melon seeds are used in cooking. When making peynir cheese, herders put the hardened colostrum in a small jug, pour a little salt into it, and then a handful of melon seeds and poured it with sour milk. Melon seeds were placed in the sourdough so that less liquid remained in the milk when curdling.