Ingredients: Citron Melons, Pie Melons, Paddy Melons and Jam Melons | Early Australian Pie Recipe

Oven Baked Paddy Melon

My friend Franz recently posted a picture of an Australian Paddy Melon, a large melon that grows wild in paddocks in country Australia. They are quite tart when raw, unlike their more sedate cousin the watermelon. As kids we loved finding them – they seemed quite exotic in the fields – and we knew that the next day we would have either a delicious jam or a wonderful tart.

Paddy Melon
Pic from I

Paddy melons are also called Pie Melons and Jam Melons – you can see why. These were the dishes most commonly made with them. They are also known as Tsamma, and Citron Melon. Hard, seedy and bitter when raw, when cooked, the greenish flesh becomes amazingly translucent with a luscious soft texture able to absorb the flavours of the dish – lemony ginger jam, for example, or sweet apple melon pie. Surprisingly they don’t add a lot of flavour to the dish, just the lovely texture.

You used to be able to find paddy melons at country markets, but I am not sure that it is still the case.

My friend Franz and his friend Dillon never knew that you could cook with these beauties, and regretfully remembered all of the times they had bypassed them in the field, or thrown them away.

Please be careful, because the term Paddy Melon is also used for a smaller, prickly melon that is nowhere near edible. The term is used interchangeably with both melons, so be aware.

There is a rumour promulgated on the internet that Pie Melons are toxic. Not so, but do watch this smaller relative, a prickly melon, quite small. I have seen these but never cooked them. They may be harmful to health (but I am making assumptions).

Two-in-one Citron Melon Peel
Recipe from Edith Adams’ Cottage

Oven Baked Pie Melon

Now, Pie Melon is as Country as you can get – at least in South Australia. Look out for it in April at country stalls. Sells for about $2.00 for a melon about as large as a large watermelon. You will need only 50 cents worth.

I don’t know the history of the pie melon, but I guess that it was a Great Depression food – that it, during the 1930s in the country you ate anything that didn’t make you ill! Now this isn’t a great recommendation for the Pie Melon, but it is rather nice once per year.

The melon itself does not have a lot of taste, but makes yummy pies, tart fillings and is good served with a tart cream (marscapone, sour cream, creme fraîche etc). So country! So winter! So not dinner party material.

0.25 of a Pie Melon juice and rind of a lemon 3 cinnamon sticks
sultanas juice and rind of an orange butter

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C. Butter a deep oven dish.

Remove the rind of the Pie Melon, and dice the flesh, removing seeds. This takes some time, as it is a melon with lots of seeds.

Soak the sultanas in the orange juice, and a little Marsala, until plump.

Mix the juices, rinds, sultanas, and melon and place in the baking dish. Add the cinnamon sticks, sprinkle the lot with a reasonable amount of sugar, and dot with butter.

Bake about 40 minutes or so until tender.

Serve hot with cream, or cold on muesli for breakfast, or use with puff pastry for a pie, or thicken and use as a pie filling with a creme or meringue topping.


So country!


13 Comments Add yours

  1. Joyce La Framce says:

    where do you get your melons i am looking to find citron melon to cook and can’t find any?


    1. Ganga108 says:

      Hi Joyce, I think that you will only find them in Farmers Markets or on farms. They are not grown or sold commercially.


  2. lollybraine says:

    I’m so happy to find your post! I looked last year in vain for how to use “pie melons” for pie and couldn’t find instructions. Only recipes for jam and candied pieces.


  3. Leeann Lott says:

    Thanks so much for sharing the info about citron melons. Who knew???? My aunt grew them every year. She told us they were not edible and would make us sick. She grew them for Pet and Buttermilk, her 2 precious spoiled cows. I actually think she grew 2 crops per year. She rotated with her feed corn for the chickens and turkeys. She was extremely hard working and died youngish at 57, Really have great memories of her. i REMEMBER WHEN i WAS ABOUT 7 TURNING THE CRANK TO START THE old tractor. I was scared, but it took 2 tries cause I got fussed at between trying. I know for sure if she had known they were edible, we would have had them every which way. She could take much of nothing and feed 2 hungry families and more if needed. Biscuits were cheap, I would shake the cream from the cows in a wax paper covered quart jar and turn it into a little bowl to set. So there was fresh butter. She planted and tended sugar cane. My uncle would gather up enough folks each fall and cook up the best blue ribbon cane syrup., Every meal the biscuits, syrup and butter was on the table, we were happy it was, cause there probably was squirrel in that big pot of rice. I still cool my stuff on the over door. Oh yes I am in Mississippi USA and referring to your article in heat in the kitchen Aug. 2013


    1. Ganga108 says:

      What a lovely story! Thank you for sharing it.


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