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Oct 15, 2010 01:21 PM

The Impenetrable Egyptian Melon Seed

I tend toward the seed-/nut-loving end of the spectrum. When browsing the mix of offerings at a local market, I opted for something new-to-me, and brought home “Egyptian Small Melon Seeds.” Oh boy! New snack!

Delicious, delicious, delicious. Unfortunately, they’re also hard as rocks. A fear-for-your-teeth hardness. I don’t like my snacks coupled with abject terror over thousands in dental bills. But the taste of the ones I managed to carefully masticate was sooo good. Time to experiment.

Beat a little in a mortar and pestle to crack them up? Not much luck. processor! A little whirr, maybe get some sort of funky seed butter result? No dice - the melon seeds simply whirred around completely intact. At this point, without much to lose and feeling a little devil-may-care, I tried dumping in a little oil to possibly slurry things up a bit, maybe crack the dang things. Nope. I did succeed in producing some quite pronounced scratching of the FP bowl for my efforts; I was determined, and whirred my little heart out. Result was a bowlful of stubbornly intact oily seeds. Complete Fail. I drew the line at stomping out to the shed for the maul.

So what gives? Have I done something stupid and assumed that these seeds don’t need to be hulled first? Looking at them (size, seed coat structure), it doesn’t seem practical (or even doable, at least for me). They were merchandised with all the other nuts and seeds that were ready to go for out-of-hand eating (pepitas, shelled pistachios, shelled sunflower seeds, etc.), so I may have made the leap and imagined that the melon seeds were similarly a ready-to-eat item, as the melon seeds were roasted and salted. But then, I might well be an idiot along the lines of “Huh? You need to SHELL the walnuts before putting them in cookies?” Or did I get a lousy batch? Perhaps they should be not quite as hard as pebbles?

Does anybody use these? How? Are they always impenetrable? Educate me? What’s the secret?

They’re just so delicious.


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  1. I chuckled a little when I read this :)

    If your little picture is of those melon seeds, they look a little like they've already been shelled; maybe they were roasted a little too long and thus got hard? I had similar complaints as a kid trying to eat whole Chinese watermelon seeds when I couldn't hull them.

    1. I realize this thread is old, but these are one of my favorite snacks and I think everyone should know how to eat them, haha.

      We have them in Iran, too - they're called tokhmeh. The ones my mom buys are salted and roasted, and what you do is roast them more until they have a nutty smell. Then, you have to crack the shell with your teeth (I use the molars but it's still pretty bad for your teeth.) It's a bit tricky to learn but once you've mastered it, it's easy. I guess you could eat the shell like with sunflower seeds but I don't know anyone who does. Probably yours were roasted too much or something, but they're definitely not soft. Hopefully this was helpful!