Christmas Treats and Review: The Santa Claus Melon and How To Find and Enjoy It

Piel de Sapo or Santa Claus Melon.
Piel de Sapo or Santa Claus Melon. | Source

Abundant In the Northern Hemisphere

The Christmas Melon or Santa Claus Melon or Camouflage Melon is a cultivar of the Muskmelon. It has a mild, melon-like flavor and is very sweet. Its scientific name is Cucumis Melo Inodorus (winter melon).

Several of our specialty markets and many of our chain supermarkets in Central Ohio, like Giant Eagle, carry the Santa Claus Melon among an array of a dozen varieties of melons from around the world. In fact, growers tell us that this melon, Piel de Sapo, thrives in several places within the Northern Hemisphere. The largest region for growing Santa Claus Melons is the romantic La Mancha in Spain, south of Madrid. Murcia, Spain also cultivates a significant crop yearly.

Piel de Sapo is also grown in South and Central America during the North's colder months, making it more readily available via international shipping at Christmas. These melons are shipped largely to Europe, while California and Arizona produce the melon for the USA. Colorado is under study in 2012 for possible production of the Christmas Melon.

Largest Producers In the World

show route and directions
A markerLa Mancha Spain -
Castille La Mancha, Spain
[get directions]

Santa Clause Melon is grown here in the largest quantities of all from May through June and harvested from mid-July through September..

B markerMurcia -
Murcia, Spain
[get directions]

The growing and harvest season here extends from mid-March to mid-July.

Largest Producers in the Western Hemisphere

show route and directions
A markerBrazil -
[get directions]

B markerCentral America -
Central America
[get directions]

C markerCalifornia -
California, USA
[get directions]

Available June - October.

D markerArizona -
Arizona, USA
[get directions]

Available June - October.

Types of Melons For Comparison

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Cantaloupe (muskmelon)Some sources state that the yellow watermelon's flesh is similar to the Christmas Melons, but it is actually not.The taste is slightly similar and sweet. Santa Claus MelonHoneydew MelonYubari King Melon of Japan, used in Midori.
Cantaloupe (muskmelon)
Cantaloupe (muskmelon) | Source
Some sources state that the yellow watermelon's flesh is similar to the Christmas Melons, but it is actually not.The taste is slightly similar and sweet.
Some sources state that the yellow watermelon's flesh is similar to the Christmas Melons, but it is actually not.The taste is slightly similar and sweet. | Source
Santa Claus Melon
Santa Claus Melon | Source
Honeydew Melon
Honeydew Melon | Source
Yubari King Melon of Japan, used in Midori.
Yubari King Melon of Japan, used in Midori. | Source

The Muskmelons of Persia and India

The muskmelon (Cucumis melo) was first found in India and Persia (Iraq) in the 1600s as far as we know and cultivated into several different varieties, including the Santa Claus Melon in Spain. It is the muskmelon that yields the raw products to make Midori liqueur, a green alcohol beverage first made in Japan in the 1980s and named with the Japanese word for "green" (midori).

Midori was introduced into the St. Louis test market in the very early 1980s and was a fast success -- I visited St. Louis in those years with family friends and saw all the posters and billboards for Midori, not knowing what it was at the time. I assumed it was made from honeydew melons. As it turns out, honeydew is a type of muskmelon, as is the Santa Claus Melon. Those used in Midori come from the Yubari region of Japan and bring incredible prices at auction - up to $12,000 for a single fruit in 2012.

OXO Good Grips Small Cookie Scoop
OXO Good Grips Small Cookie Scoop

Excellent for making melon balls for side dishes and dessert, or to freeze.

Santa Claus Melon
Santa Claus Melon | Source

My Rating of Santa Claus Melon

5 stars for Santa Claus Melon or Piel de Sapo

Choosing a Good Melon

This particular melon should have rather soft ends in a body that is12 inches long and 6 inches in diameter. The thick, blotchy green rough skin that leads to the nickname Toad Skin prevents the aroma of ripe melon to come through, but the body should be firm. So, the melon is oval, with softish ends when ripe, without bruising or odd colorings. Some bright yellow lines usually indicate ripeness and sweetness.

Some sources list a totally yellow skinned version of the fruit as well and this is likely the closely related Canary Melon.

The seeds inside of the melon are arranged like cantaloupe seeds, rather than watermelon seeds, and need to be removed before eating.

Keep the melon at room temperature up to two days before cutting. After cutting, place in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It really does not keep for months, but is grown in the Southern Hemisphere during out autumn season to provide Christmas Melon during Christmas and New Year's Week.

Nutrition: Potassium

This melon is a very good source of Potassium in that 1 Cup of the melon furnishes 14% of the daily allowance of this mineral recommended for adults on a 2,000 calorie daily diet. The melon is low calorie, low in salt, and low in sugars, with just 5% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of carbohydrates..

Nutrition In the Christmas Melon or Santa Claus Melon

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 Cup
Calories 60
Calories from Fat0
% Daily Value *
Fat 0 g
Saturated fat 0 g
Unsaturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 16 g5%
Sugar 0 g
Fiber 0 g
Protein 1 g2%
Cholesterol 0 mg
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Unusual Melons

Uses for Christmas Melon

The Santa Claus or Christmas Melon can be enjoyed by itself, cut into sections, or together with other fruits in a fruit compote during the late autumn and early winter. When available in summer, it is good cold for a refreshing side dish or dessert.


  • The Fresh Market,
  • Hoffman's Markets
  • The Ohio State University Extension Service
  • University of Chicago - Champlain Extension Service
  • Whole Foods Markets

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Comments 10 comments

Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

Interesting hub Patti - I first heard of the Santa Claus Melon last night on Iron Chefs lol! I've got to get some and try it out now!

FreezeFrame34 profile image

FreezeFrame34 4 years ago from Charleston SC

Very interesting!

You have opened my eyes to the Christmas melon and now I want to try one for myself! It looks delicious!

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Dorsi - I need to see that episode of Iron Chef; have watched it for some time.

FreezeFrame34 - I was happy when I saw the question to answer, since I'd just seen a Santa Claus Melon in the store!

Are Christmas lights up in your neighborhoods yet? My whol block has twice as many lights as last year! - At least we can have some light at night now. :)

Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

I've never heard of the Santa Claus melon before by any of its name, and I'm not sure if I've ever seen it. Looks like it would be a fun addition to Christmas!

kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Patty great hub, i have not ever heard of the Santa Claus Melon and found this information very interesting. Now I'll have to look to see where i can buy one and try it.

There are only a few who have Christmas lights lit yet near my house but the mall and stores have been playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving .

Vote up and more !!! SHARING !

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

I like your hubs, Patty, because it is rare for me not to find out something I didn't know about before thereon. Including this Santa Claus melon. Thanks for enlarging considerably my melon sphere.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Melovy - Id seen these melons many times under even more names, but I like the holiday names quite well. It IS all fun.

kashmir56 - Our Big Lots stores always put up Christmas d├ęcor in AUGUST. lol Of course, some do their shopping then. Thanks for reading and sharing!

drbj - Your comments are as entertaining as your Hubs! I always appreciate your visits.

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

I'd never heard of the Santa Claus melon until just now and what a fascinating 'melon' hub. I think, if we had it here, and it doesn't look all that unfamiliar, I'd use it in crunchy salads with cabbage and nuts. Nice one!

Pinning in my virtual recipe collection.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

Nope, never heard of the Santa Claus melon and to make matters worse, I thought "Midori" was liquor (well, in all fairness to me, it is ALSO liquor). This hub contains lots of information. You've helped us in many ways when it comes to Christmas melons, looking for different kinds, buying them, eating them and their nutritional value! What more could we ask for?

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

GoodLady - Cabbage and nuts would be a perfect combination for the melon and I will definitely try that this year. I wonder if any of your markets will have the Santa Claus Melon, since Spain is not awfully far away?

tillsontitan - When I was in St. Louis, none of use were regular alcohol drinkers, so we ordered one drink containing juices and Midori and all tried it. We found it delicious.

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