This year I am growing an adorable little melon that truly deserves to be the Paisley Plant of the Week.
I’m speaking of Queen Anne’s Pocket Melon.
These diminutive 2-3 inch melons are grown for their fragrance instead of their flavor. The flavor is rather bland, but the smell is incredible. The fragrance, so enchanting, women would carry these in the pockets of their dresses.
Depending on your source, the flavor is described as bland, pleasant but not memorable, mediocre, and in at least one instance that I found from a review in 1859, “not eatable”. They are edible, but that is not where their strength lies. The appeal is in the peel, so to speak.
The fragrance, somewhere between a warm lemon and a nice, ripe muskmelon, makes a statement all it’s own.
Grow these compact plants anywhere you want to sweeten the aroma. Just be sure to give them something to climb on, they are melons after all. Melons must meander.
I’m growing them at the base of my porch stairs and letting them use the banister supports as a trellis. They seem to enjoy their large containers in the front yard and the back. Both places get full sun, as the backyard faces east and the front faces west. The western exposed melon has grown faster and a little bigger quicker than his eastern exposure siblings, but I chalk that up to warmer afternoon temperatures making for warmer germination conditions.
As long as they’re healthy, growing and blooming, I don’t make comparisons. That will just contribute to east vs. west hostility. Who wants that? Soon the pots would be hanging red or blue bandanas from their rims and I would mysteriously hear bass music espousing the benefits of the east hood or the merits of the west. If I see one more pot with its pants down to its knees, boxers in full view of the zinnia gawking neighbors, I’ll chuck them all in the ground, cover them with manure and blast Brahms at them 24/7.
But I digress…
This year I’m going to make “Candied Pockets” that’s the name I’m thinking about going with at the moment. I’m going to make pickles with the same recipe I use for candied watermelon rind. I’m thinking they will be nice, and if it doesn’t work…well I think it will. I found this little note about melon jelly, which I’m planning to try as well.
To make jelly from the melons: “Select fruit that has not become too ripe; peel, cut into quarters; cook till soft, then strain juice from pulp. To 1 quart of juice, add an equal quantity of sugar, then boil until thick – the same as any jelly. Sugar may be added to the pulp and boiled to make pomegranate butter”. – Bulletin. S. Dakota.
One note about the above quote, you’ll notice at the end it says about boiling and adding sugar to the pulp to make pomegranate butter,..this is because another common name for Queen Anne’s Pocket was the Vine Pomegranate. Another name is the Plum Granny, but granny butter lacked consumer appeal in the focus groups. I think I’ll call mine, Anne’s Confit…Jam to die for! Don’t lose your head, it was just an idea. Too soon? Well Tudors down they liked it.
The fruit are tiny, about 2-3 inches, oblong and a golden color with orange stripes. Very cute, and oh, so paisley. Add to that, the aroma from three of these orbs of wonder can fill your room quicker than a Yankee Kitchen Candle, and you have yourself a winner, ladies and gentlemen.
If you want a decorative, sweet smelling plant, you should definitely try the Queen Anne’s Pocket.
Seeds available at: