If a you are given a cucumber and a melon, you could easily identify which is cucumber and which one is the melon. However, there are actually numerous studies about the relationship of Cucumbers and Melons, which begs the question: Are Cucumbers Melons?
The direct answer is NO but both are members of the Cucurbitaceae Family which means they are closely related and have a lot of similarities.
If you are wondering how close can cucumbers and melons be, just keep reading to find out.
The Cucurbitaceae Family
Cucurbitaceae is a gourd family of flowering plants. This family has 98 genera and around 975 species. They are native to tropical areas such as Africa and some countries in Asia but also grow and thrive in any temperate regions which means places with moderate rainfall and mild summers and cool winters.
One of the major and most common genus of the Cucurbitaceae family is the genus Cucumis which both cucumbers and melons belong to. Species in the genus Cucumis are generally characterized by their twining and tendril-bearing and these are general characters of vines. Cucumbers are also known as Cucumis sativus while Melons are knowns are Cucumis melo.
Cucumis sativus (Cucumbers)
Cucumbers are very common and known for their crisp and green appearance. Although they are associated with vegetables because they are usually in a salad and sometimes pickled, cucumbers have been proven to actually be fruits.
In science, fruits are defined as plants that develop from a flower and contain seeds of the plant and cucumbers fit the said parameters thus, they are fruits. The reason that they are mistaken as vegetables is actually because of their taste. The general public associate’s fruits with something sweets and soft which is clearly not how one would describe cucumbers.
Cucumbers are also a well-known ingredient for healthy and weight loss recipes because they are low in sugar, low in calories while being high in fiber. They may be eaten raw or cooked.
Cucumbers are also a popular ingredient in skincare products. A lot of skincare companies develop products that are centered around cucumbers or develop cucumber-infused products because it is good for retaining skin hydration and removing dark circles and dark spots. They are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties, anti-aging properties, reduces skin itching, redness, and soothes sunburns.
You have most likely seen some women put thinly sliced cucumbers in their faces as homemade masks. Some brands with popular skincare products centered around cucumbers are Kiehl’s, ILIA, Mario Badescu, and many more.
Cucumis melo (Melons)
Melons are characterized as frost-tender which means they are sensitive to freezing temperature and are consistent with the general characteristics of the Cucurbitaceae Family as mentioned above. Depending on the variety, the melon fruit can greatly vary in size, color, shape, texture, and taste. Although there are also different varieties of cucumbers, the differences and distinctions of melons are much more apparent.
Similar to cucumbers, melons are also known to be good for weight loss due to it being low in sugar, low in calories, and high in fiber. Some melons generally taste sweet when ripe but they are still lower in sugar compared to others which is why some people incorporate different types of melons in their weight loss diet.
It tastes much more pleasant compared to vegetables and even cucumbers and it makes them appealing. Watermelon, a type of melon, is actually a good salad ingredient although not as common as cucumbers. And if you ask a child between melons and cucumber, the child will most likely choose melons over cucumbers which speaks about their taste making it a better option for some when choosing which to incorporate in their diet.
Unlike cucumbers, melons are not mistaken as vegetables due to their appearance but some are treated as vegetables due to their taste (although the sweet melons are still good ingredients for summer salads). Here are some of the common and popular varieties of melons:
Watermelons are one of the most popular and distinct melons in the world. Japan and China are just some of the many countries with a large production of watermelons. Watermelons are characterized by its green exterior with a stripped or alternating light and dark green and its red interior. Due to it being 90% water, watermelons are great thirst quenchers.
Watermelons, similar to cucumbers, are highly associated with skincare. A lot of companies have developed products centered around watermelons or watermelon infused products due to its hydrating properties. They are also known to help calm skin inflammation, boost collagen production, and rejuvenate the skin. Some brands with popular skincare products centered around cucumbers are Glow Recipe, Drunk Elephant, Origins, Murad, and many more.
Cantaloupes are types melons which has two types: European Cantaloupes and North American Cantaloupe. European Cantaloupes are believed to have originated from Italy hence the name Cantaloupe from the city Cantalupo. European Cantaloupes are characterized by their gray-green exterior with white stripes while North American Cantaloupes have green and white net-like exterior and both have a sweet and orange interior. Cantaloupes are commonly eaten as desserts and are also used as flavors for desserts like ice cream and smoothies.
Although cantaloupes are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and are good for hydration which makes it good for the skin and hair, unlike cucumbers and watermelons, cantaloupes are not commonly used in skincare products and cantaloupe infused products are not quite popular in the skincare market.
Winter melons are known for their long shelf life. They are usually produced during summer but are still good until winter, hence the name Winter melon. Its exterior is greatly similar to watermelon but its interior is pale or white. Unlike watermelons and cantaloupes, winter melons have more of a bland taste rather than sweet.
Because of its taste, winter melons are more commonly cooked rather than eaten raw. It is usually included in stir-fried recipes or soups. Winter melons are highly popular in China and similar to cucumber, commonly included in vegetable dishes.
However, Winter melon has gained popularity internationally and among tea lovers as winter melon tea and/ or winter melon milk tea. This drink is actually sliced or juiced winter melon mixed with some sweetener such as sugar or honey and milk is also sometimes added and although the name is winter melon tea, it is not actually a tea.
As already mentioned in the first section, cucumbers and melons are not the same thus, cucumbers are not melons. However, the question ‘Are cucumbers melons?’ is actually valid considering their similarities in physical composition and how they grow which can be explained when you look into their origin and family. Both cucumbers and melons belong to the Cucurbitaceae family and the genus Cucumis but they are different species, cucumbers are Cucumis sativus while melon is Cucumis melo.
Both have a lot of health benefits in a person’s diet or weight loss and even in skincare. It only comes down to preference in taste or maybe availability in your local market.
We hope that this clarified some confusion and gave some useful information. If you have other questions about the topic or wish for us to expand or elaborate, please let us know in the comment section below. You may also suggest some topics that you want us to write about.