Sweet and Succulent: Honeydew Melon
This sweet, succulent member of the muskmelon family was prized by ancient Egyptians thousands of years ago, and ages before that in Persia, where the muskmelon is thought to have originated. Luckily for American honeydew enthusiasts, the melons are now grown in California and parts of the Southwest.
The slightly oval honeydew is distinguished by a smooth, creamy-yellow rind and pastel green flesh that’s extraordinarily juicy and sweet. It ranges in weight from 4 to 8 pounds.
Honeydews are available year-round, though the peak months are generally July through September. Perfectly ripe honeydews will have an almost indistinguishable wrinkling on the skin’s surface, often detectable only by touch. Choose one that’s very heavy for its size. Underripe melons can be ripened at room temperature. Wrap ripe melons in a plastic bag and refrigerate up to 5 days.
Honeydew melons can be used in salads, desserts, as a garnish and in fruit soups. They are a good source of vitamin C.
The sweetest of all the melons and averaging five to six pounds, honeydew melons have a creamy yellow rind when ripe and pale green flesh. Honeydew melons are from June through October, but are available year round.
A Year ‘Round Treat
Honeydews are available all year. Choose honeydews that are firm, heavy and well rounded. Avoid ones with a hard, dead-white rind with a green tint, which indicates it is unripe. Use honeydews for an hors d’oeuvres with prosciutto, in desserts and in soups. Serve halved honeydews filled with chicken, shrimp, tuna or seafood salad.
Most honeydews on display are not ready to eat and need to be ripened for a day or so. Shaking honeydews isn’t a good way to test ripeness or sweetness.
To ripen honeydews, place whole melons inside loosely closed paper bags. Once cut, honeydews won’t ripen. So store cut fruit or fully ripe whole honeydews in tightly sealed plastic bags inside your refrigerator.
The best are creamy white or pale yellow with a silky finish. They are best if purchased between June and October. A faint sweet smell indicated ripeness. Blossom end (the end opposite the stem) should be slightly soft.
Like most melons, honeydews taste better if left unrefrigerated for a few days. Whole ones keep fresh for up to one week when refrigerated. Store cut melons with seeds in plastic bags. Eat within a few days.
Make quick melon kebobs! Thread different melon varieties on a skewer for a colorful 5 A Day treat.
The melon seeds are edible and many varieties are enjoyed worldwide as edible seeds and the seeds are pressed for oils. There is one caveat — sprouting seeds bear toxins — otherwise enjoy them!
You may eat every part of a melon, save the peel! Fruit/flesh — obvious seeds — as are. They can be dried, roasted, seed oil rind — cooked, pickled, etc.
Nutritional Value for one-tenth of a honeydew melon:
- Calories: 45
- Carbohydrates: 12g
- Protein: 1g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- Fat: 0
- Saturated Fat: 0
Did you know?
The need for melons that could withstand the rigors of being transported across the country prompted farmers to breed melons with tougher skins. Consequently, sweeter, more succulent varieties of melon are now difficult, it not impossible, to find in the United States.
Read More: Food Facts