Fuzzy Melons are a type of edible wax gourd. They are not just a young form of Winter Melon.
They grow on annual vines that can be allowed to grow over the ground, or can be trained to a trellis.
The skin on the gourds feels fuzzy from fine white hairs on the green, blotched skin. Though the fuzz disappears as the gourd matures, and disappears when fully mature, the gourd is actually harvested immature.
The fruit is probably ready to harvest starting 1 week after blossom.
Inside, it has white flesh with a mild, sweetish flavour. You will hear the flavour described as “mild”, “subtle”, “absorbs the flavours of what it’s cooked with.” This, of course, is usually code for “no flavour at all, actually”, but Fuzzy Melons have slightly more flavour than zucchini, with just a touch of acidity for zip.
They can be squat like a baby eggplant or long like a zucchini, or some shape in between, even with a slight “waist.” They are usually harvested at 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) long.
Choose small, firm ones. Use up within a few days of purchase. If stored longer, the flavour can become tart, and the flesh can soften.
Either scrub skin to remove fuzz before using, or just peel.
Use for soups, stir-fries, steaming, braising, or stuff it.
Zucchini, cucumber (yes, cucumber even in cooking).
Fuzzy Melons are probably native to southern China.
The Japanese name, “heari meron”, is a transliteration of the English name.