It’s a natural food colour that turns liquids a beautiful blue, and it might have some impressive health qualities. It’s the butterfly blue pea flower.
It’s officially winter in Australia, and with that added chill comes a craving for warming, sustaining soups! Asian cuisines have a variety of soups and broths made from just about any ingredient you can imagine. Even melons. Yep, today we’re going to talk about 2 melons that make quite delicious soup!
Shark fin melon
Okay okay, so full disclosure, technically this is a squash. The melon name comes from the Chinese character, which can also mean melon. And no, this is not a vegan alternative to actual shark fin, but rather a melon that has strands similar in look and texture to shark fin.
Native to the Americas (most think Mexico as the centre of domestication), it is now eaten throughout the Iberian Peninsula and Asia.
It is thought to have numerous health benefits, including helping with the cold and flu. It has been proven to help treat diabetes and reduce levels of glucose in the blood. It’s a great source of Vitamin A, fibre and, believe it or not, calcium.
This ‘melon’ is technically a gourd, similar to a cucumber when it’s fully matured. Every part of the plant is used for food or medicinal purposes, and it’s health benefits are widely championed across Asia. It can also be stored for months without spoiling, so has been a popular food for the working classes for centuries. While it’s normally used in soups and broths, winter melon is often candied and eaten with dessert or as a snack.
The nutritional value of winter is the reason it’s so widely consumed. It has large amounts of vitamin C and vitamin B2, dietary fibre, zinc, iron, phosphorous, potassium and a bunch of other vitamins and minerals that are good for you. As you can see there’s a reason winter melon has been linked with so many health benefits, like heart health, improved immune system, helps the digestive system and detoxes the body. It’s even been linked to preventing migraines.
Try out two of our favourite soup recipes for shark fin melon and winter melon soups, to help keep you warm this winter, and stay healthy as possible. Head down to your local Asian grocers and pick a couple up!