As a vegetarian, I am always looking for innovative ways to make meals interesting and tasty, as well as nutritious, for the whole family.
Stuffed Melon Recipe
And How to Grow Your Own Summer Soft Fruits For the Melon
Forever looking for innovative ways to present simple dishes and serving up a melon for dessert rather than just slice the melon into segments or chopping it into cubes (chunks) as part of a fruit salad as I normally would I thought I would be a bit experimental and do something a little different with what was to hand.
In this case bananas and some blueberries freshly picked from the garden that day; thus the creation of this simple dish, 'stuffed melon, blueberry and banana fruit dessert'.
Also included here are a few tips for growing your own soft fruits, and picking them from the wild, for adding to your dessert recipes and to use in your fruit pies and jams.
|Prep time||Ready in||Yields|
- 2 bananas
- Slice the Melon into two inch thick rings
- Remove the seeds from the centre of each melon ring
- Scoop out any surplus melon from the top and bottom of the melon, as they don’t form rings, and use scooped melon as side decoration on the final dish.
- Slice the bananas in half along their lengths and cut into quarter or thirds so each banana segment is about 2.5 inches long.
- Arrange the banana segments in a ring around the edge of the centre hole in the melon.
- Fill the remaining space in the centre of the melon with blueberries.
A simple dessert dish taking just five minutes to prepare requires one melon, a couple of bananas and a small dish of blueberries, as shown in the above image)
Melon sliced into rings, like pineapple rings but two inch thick, replacing the seeds in the inner ring with a lining of halved bananas and filled with blueberries.
When removing the seeds from the centre also remove some of the melon to make the hole bigger and after placing a ring of bananas around the outer edge of the hole fill the centre with a variety of other soft fruits such as raspberries and blackberries.
Grow Your Own Soft Fruits for Desserts
Home Grown Blueberries, Raspberries and Strawberries
In this simple dish I used blueberries home grown and picked straight from the garden. Nothing beats soft fruits for freshness, taste and goodness than organically grown soft fruits picked straight from your own garden. And if you have a bit of spare garden with plenty of sunshine growing your own soft fruits couldn't be easier.
Above pictured are strawberries in flower in a strawberry pot against a south facing fence at the top of our vegetable garden. Next to it along the south facing fence we have a line of other soft fruits including an Alpine strawberry plant, raspberry canes and at the end (just above our wildlife pond) a couple of blueberry plants.
Home Grown Alpine and Standard Strawberry Plants
Grow Your Own Blueberries
Organic Fruits of the Garden
The above picture shows a blueberry plant in flower, this plant in our vegetable garden is set against a south facing fence and just to the left of it is its companion blueberry plant of a different but compatible variety for cross pollination.
- To successfully grow your own blueberries you need to pick a sunny spot where the soil is moist, well drained and not too acid; the best way to ensure this is to dig a deep hole for each plant and fill it with ericaceous compost.
- If the plants are in the open the fruits will be the target of birds, they love them; so you'll need to protect the plants from birds during the fruiting season with netting. Or alternatively, you could plant the blueberry bushes against a south facing fence (see photo above) or wall as this can act as a fairly good deterrent. I relocated the plants from open ground to a south facing fence after the first year and I haven't had any problems from birds feeding on the fruits since.
- Pruning is simple enough; they don't need much pruning, just cut out any damaged and diseased branches, then once every few years thin out by cutting about a fifth of the branches back to ground level, choosing the oldest (the most woody) to remove.
- Many blueberry bushes are not self-pollinating (although some varieties are) therefore when buying your blueberry plants not only choose varieties suited to you area but also choose at least two different varieties that are suitable for cross-pollination with each other and plant them a few feet apart; even if one of the varieties is self-fruiting it will still benefit from cross-pollination.
Grow Your Own Raspberries
Wide Choice of Varieties Available
When choosing varieties to grow there are now a wide range available; in our garden we now have summer and autumn varieties of raspberries and even a yellow fruit (rather than the traditional red variety). The photo above is of the side border (south facing fence) where we have planted the rootstock (purchased in the autumn) of a variety of soft fruits including raspberries, blueberries and strawberry plants.
Raspberry canes are simple to grow; they'll need sturdy support such as being tied to wires set at about every 8 inches (20cm) or so up posts (about 5ft high), the posts being placed either side of a row of up to ten plants which should be placed every couple of feet apart. Although a south facing fence works just as well (see photo above) and I place my plants much closer (1ft - 30cm) apart because I practice a medieval style gardening organically rather than following practices established in the Victorian era which allows for more compacting planting.
The plants aren't too fussy about the soil as long as it's reasonably moist and fairly well drained, and pruning is simple. The plants fruit on the second year growth so at the end of the growing season when all the raspberries have been harvested simply cut out all the old stems (the current year fruiting stems) back to ground level; and cut back all the new growth except for the best five new stems for next year's fruits; fan these stems out by tying and training them to the support wires.
Below is an image of Yellow Raspberries picked from our garden this year, a late variety that fruits from late summer until early winter.
Pick Your Own Fruits from the Wild
As well as growing our own soft fruits in the garden during August each year we also pick a bonanza of wild blackberries growing along the sides of our local cycle track (cycle path), which from the 1820's until the late 1960s was the local railway line; see above picture.
The cycle track is only a five minutes’ walk from our house, making it very convenient for blackberry picking. The Photo doesn’t reveal the full growth of this natural free resource but come the autumn the sides of the tracks are overgrown with brambles rich with ripe and juicy wild blackberries ready for the picking; free except for a little of your time.
In a good year we can pick as much as 7Ibs (3kgs) of wild blackberries in just a couple of hours. So if you live near land with public access baring wild fruits it can be a very fruitful exercise spending a few leisurely hours in the summer sun picking fruits from the wild for your fruit pies and dessert recipes.
Home Grown vs Shop Bought Fruit
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Arthur Russ
Have you any tips for soft fruit recipes or for growing your own soft fruits?
Arthur Russ (author) from England on June 15, 2017:
Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on October 04, 2012:
Beautiful dessert and healthy too!