Honeydew is the best-known winter melon variety, sweet and succulent. In fact, honeydew is the sweetest of all the melons when ripe. These melons have a smooth, pastel pale-green skin with sweet, more vibrant pale-green flesh. Honeydews can range in shape from round to oval and usually weigh from 3 to 6 pounds. Winter melons do not “slip” their stems (break off) when they reach maturity, so a stub will be visible on one end of the fruit.
Although it is considered a winter melon, it comes into abundance in autumn (actually between June and October) after a long ripening period, but imported melons can greatly extend the season. Because melons are highly perishable, growers pick them early, making it difficult to choose a flavourful melon.
The following are some characteristics that are important to inspect:
- The navel, where the stem was attached should not show signs of mould, excessive softness.
- If a shrivelled stem is still attached, it was picked too soon. Melons do not ripen after picking, only growing softer. After harvest this fruit becomes perishable in about two weeks.
- The melon’s scent should be fresh and sweet with a fruity overtone.
- Press on the end opposite the stem to ensure that it will yield noticeably to the pressure of your finger. The end should be soft or tender yet not mushy.
- Its shape should be well-rounded and feel heavy for their size.
- Appearance should be evenly coloured and free of bruises.
- Not always possible to find out until you get it home, but the rind should have a cream colour.
Whole Melons Hard melons can be good if left to soften at room temperature for a couple of days. In general, if storing melons for a few days be sure to keep them somewhere out of the sunlight, at a temperature not to exceed 70° and then chill before serving.
Cut Melons Store ripe melons in the refrigerator and, if cut, be sure they are tightly covered or in a sealed container to keep other foods from taking on the melon aroma or flavour. If storing cut melons in the refrigerator, be sure to cover with plastic or foil. Full melons that are ripe can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or less.
Wash whole melons in soapy water and thoroughly rinse them before cutting into sections, so the knife will not contaminate the flesh with any potential bacteria. If only partially used, the remainder should be tightly wrapped to refrigerate again.
Depending on their size, melons can be served in their skins, halved or cut in wedges, or peeled. The flesh can also be cut into cubes or scooped into balls with a melon-baller. It is common for larger melons to be sliced in serving-size portions, while smaller melons are cut in half. Regardless, the pulp and seeds are scooped out before serving.
Eaten raw, are often served for breakfast, as an appetizer, dessert, snack, and they are a delicious addition to salads of all kinds. Flavourful melons do not require sugar. To enhance the flavour, however, they can be sprinkled with a little lemon or lime juice to the fruit after it has been sliced and just before serving. An interesting twist can be added with salt, freshly ground pepper or ginger.
Honeydew, like mango, is an excellent sources of potassium, which has proven health benefits. Other minerals include calcium, zinc, magnesium, copper, manganese, iron, phosphorous, selenium, chromium, and sodium. Rich in vitamin C and potassium, honeydew melons are the perfect choice for low-calorie snacks. In addition, like most fruits, they contain no saturated fat or cholesterol. Honeydew melon helps prevent cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. In general, the darker skins have stronger antioxidant potential.
Melon (melon), 1 cup (approx. 11.5 balls)
Total Fat: 0.45g
*Excellent source of: Vitamin A (5,158 IU), and Vitamin C (67.5mg)
*Good source of: Potassium (494mg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.
- For many, choosing the perfect melon becomes a theatrical ritual. The melons have been thumped, shaked, hugged, and hold them to their ear. Unfortunate news for some, these mysterious stunts are not necessary or productive.
- Alexander Dumas, the famous French novelist, traded more than 300 volumes from his library for a lifetime supply of winter melon.
Honeydew has a history of treating heartburn, acid reflux, sour stomach, and other intestinal distress. Perhaps the reason it is so effective is its significant levels of oligosaccharides. This ‘prebiotics’ are the complex sugars found in some foods that encourage the growth of healthy bacteria (Bifidobacterium bifidum and lactobacilli) in the digestive tract.