Winter melons accumulate enough protective wax on their rinds that it can be scraped off and made into candles. On young fruits the wax-producing glands are more prominent than the wax itself, so they are known as hairy or fuzzy gourds or melons. These are cooked like summer squash, and their flesh becomes almost translucent. Winter melons keep well, and in Chinese cooking are used as an edible container for a festive soup.
From the book On Food and Cooking (2nd edition) by Harold McGee. © 2004 Harold McGee.
By permission of Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.