WINTER MELON (Genus Benincasa)

The winter melon is a vine grown for its very large fruit, and eaten as a vegetable when mature. The fruit is fuzzy when young, and when immature melon has thick white flesh that is sweet when eaten. When mature, the melon loses its hairs and develops a waxy coating, which helps provide a longershelf life.

The melon may grow as large as 80 cm in length, although the fruit is referred to as a "melon," the fully grown crop is not sweet. Originally cultivated in Southeast Asia, the winter melon is now widely grown in East Asia and South Asia as well.

The winter melon needs very warm weather to grow, but just like winter squash, it can be stored for many months. In the right conditions, the winter melon can be stored for 12 months. It gets the name "winter melon" as it is commomly eaten throught the winter months in countries of deciduous vegetation like China.

The melons can be included in a stir fry or combined with pork or pork/beef bones to make winter melon soup. In addition, it is also chopped and candied as wintermelon candy to be commonly eaten at New Year festivals, or as filling for Sweetheart cake. It has also been used as the base filling in Chinese and Taiwanese mooncakes for the Moon festival.

The shoots, tendrils, and leaves of the plant may also be eaten as greens.


White gourd, winter gourd, tallow gourd, Chinese preserving melon, or ash gourd.


The Winter Melon is commonly used in soups and stews.

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