Everything You Need to Know About Shopping for, Storing, and Preparing In Season Honeydew Melon
Plus, 3 new recipes
The best way to shop? With the seasons. So, every 2 weeks at Kitchen Stories, we'll be highlighting a different in-season ingredient along with 3 new recipes. To the market, we go!
Even the most ardent fruit enthusiast might feel a little dispirited by the fickle honeydew melon, or so I’ve come to learn. In all fairness, unless you catch the right one, you might be in for a sandy/styrofoam-y sort of experience. But if you know how to shop with the seasons and read the cues your honeymelon offers, you can easily get your hands on a perfectly ripe one—or one that is mature enough to ripen off the vine, as you’ll learn today.
What is your favorite type of melon? Let us know in the comments!
1. Hello, my name is honeydew melon (aka honeymelon)
Honeydew melon, also known as honeymelon (Cucumis melo), is a trailing vine whose many cultivated species are grown in warm and dry regions the world over. While it’s known the Cucumis genus originates in the tropics of the Old World, there isn’t so much concrete information on the specific origins of the honeydew melon.
Though you might think of a melon with green-hued skin and pale green flesh as the standard honeydew, there are other types of honeymelon out there. A popular variety in Germany known as golden honeydew has vibrant yellow skin, crisp white flesh, thin rind, and a very sweet taste. Another variety is the orange-fleshed honeydew, which has a salmon-colored rind, tastes especially sweet, and is considerably less widespread than the other 2 types of honeymelon.
In terms of nutritional values, honeydew is low in calories and carbs and a great source of vitamins A, B complex, C (one cup of honeydew contains about 70% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C!), and K, potassium, and fiber. Honeydew also contains a number of other nutrients, like zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium in reasonable amounts.
2. How to buy honeydew melon
Honeydew is available all year round, with peak season running between June and October in the northern hemisphere. One of the trickiest parts of buying large fruits such as melon and watermelon is to tell whether they’re ripe or not.
There are 2 important stages in the life of a honeydew melon: maturity and ripeness. A melon is mature before it’s ripe, and (unlike other melons) a honeydew will never ripen if picked too early. Therefore, honeydew melons are harvested based on maturity, not size. Once picked, honeydew melons may soften, but will not get much sweeter.
But let’s trust the honeydew gods and growers and assume most honeydew melons for sale are indeed mature. To find a ripe one at the market, smell it! A ripe honeydew gives off a sweet fruity aroma from the stem. The more aromatic the scent, the sweeter the melon. The opposite end of the stem should feel soft and almost springy when pressed: It will yield a little and then bounce back.
Another indicator is the skin: Smooth-skinned melons should appear waxy with a creamy, uniform color, yet with a slightly wrinkly texture—which, although almost invisible to the eye, you’ll be able to feel with your fingertips. Keep an eye out for any green veins on the skin of your honeydew as that’s a sign of unripeness. A ripe melon will also feel heavy for its size and it’ll be spherical and symmetrical in shape. As with a lot of fruits, stay away from melons that have very soft spots or bruises.
Lastly, honeydew melons have many seeds, which start to work their way loose from the melon flesh as it ripens. So, give your melon a shake! If you hear a faint rattling sound coming from within, it’s probably ready to be eaten.
3. How to store honeydew
All melons store best warm, but taste undeniably more refreshing when chilled. Honeydew melons should be stored at room temperature when whole to soften and become juicier. If it’s already quite ripe or once cut, store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container. As you might have noticed already, cut melons tend to absorb odors from other foods quickly, so make sure the wrapping is tight before storing it in the fridge.
4. How to prepare honeydew
Given that they contain so much water, honeydew is a great post-workout snack to keep you hydrated. On extremely hot days, place honeydew chunks or slices in the freezer for 1 – 2 hours for an extra refreshing snack. If you want to go a step further, purée honeydew with a little sugar and lime juice, pour the mixture into popsicle molds, and freeze.
How to prepare a honeydew melon
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Honeydew can be added to a fruit salad or smoothie, enjoyed with yogurt or on a fruit platter. You can also kebab and grill it, make a delicious granita with only 3 ingredients, or go for a classic appetizer and wrap chunks of honeydew with Parma ham. For a twist on the classic, chop honeydew and mix it with onions, cilantro, and lime juice to make honeydew salsa.
What about the seeds, you ask? Roasted watermelon seeds are actually a popular snack in Asian and Middle Eastern countries, and melon seeds can also be eaten just like that. To roast melon seeds at home, rinse and pat them dry first, then toss with olive oil, salt, and your seasoning of choice. Toast seeds on a frying pan until golden, or, alternatively, roast them on a baking sheet in the oven at 160°C/325°F for 20 – 40 minutes.
5. What to make next
Want to put your newly acquired honeydew melon knowledge to good use? Here’s where to start:
Published on August 25, 2019