Food - Drink
The Real Reason Cantaloupe Goes By Many Names
The cantaloupe is a deliciously sweet fruit packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a healthy 90% water content, but even if you enjoy this melon regularly, you may not know that it goes by many different names besides "cantaloupe." From spanspek to charentais to rockmelon, here are the origins of the cantaloupe's many monikers.
The common American cantaloupe (Cucumis melo reticulatus) is known for its web-like exterior, and while appearance plays a small part in a few of the fruit's global names, these names mostly have to do with location. The European cantaloupe is said to be the “original,” and first arrived in the Papal residence of Cantalupo.
France’s petite and more smooth-skinned melons, known as charentais, hail from the western region of Poitou-Charentes. In Japan, you’ll find expensive cantaloupes called “crown melons” or “Yubari King” melons; these special fruits are a variety grown exclusively in Yubari using elaborate gardening techniques.
Persian cantaloupes are named for the ancient moniker of modern-day Iran, which many believe is the fruit's country of origin. Other names for cantaloupe, like the South African spanspek and the Australian rockmelon, have mysterious origins, though some Aussies insist that their name is "correct," since their melons do resemble rocks.