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Melons

Find tips to pick & prepare this summertime tradition

Cut & clean
Rinse off any remaining dirt and slice as you like! Cut into small pieces using the rind as a handle, or slice, scoop, or cube flesh.

To seed or not to seed
For melons with seeds, cut in half to scoop out seeds and then slice. Or cut in half, then in half again, and slice out seeds at a 45-degree angle.

A sweet snack
Cut in half, slice widthwise, and then halve again for an old-fashioned wedge.

Quick & easy recipe
Cut in half, remove seeds, and use melon-baller to scoop balls or shave delicate slices with knife, and toss with fresh baby romaine, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.


Also indexed as: Canary Melons, Cantaloupe, Casaba Melons, Cranshaw Melons, Galia Melons, Honeydew Melons, Muskmelons, Ogen Melons, Persian Melons, Prince Melons, Santa Claus Melons, Watermelon

Preparation, uses, and tips

Melons are often served for breakfast, as an appetizer, dessert, or snack. Larger melons are sliced in serving-size portions; smaller melons are typically cut in half and the pulp and seeds are scooped out before serving. Depending on their size, melons can be served in their skins, halved or cut in wedges, or peeled for used in salads or appetizers. The flesh can also be cut into cubes or scooped into balls with a melon-baller.

Buying and storing tips

Melons are often available year-round; however they are most delicious in specific seasons:

Watermelon: May to August

Cantaloupes and muskmelons: June through August

Cranshaws: July through October

Honeydew and prince: June to October

Most others July to November

Because melons are highly perishable, growers pick them early, making it difficult to choose a flavorful melon. Choose melons that are heavy and free of bruises. Look at the navel, where the stem attached, to detect mold, excessive softness, or evidence that may show when the melon was harvested. If a shriveled stem is still attached, it was picked too soon. Melons do not ripen after picking, and only keep for about two weeks after that, instead only growing softer. A melon’s ripeness can sometimes be detected by a delicate aroma, or by tapping it lightly for a hollow sound. Hard melons can be good if left to soften at room temperature for a couple of days. Store ripe melons in the refrigerator and, if cut, be sure they are tightly covered.

Varieties

Summer melons include the following:

Watermelon

This large melon can weigh from just a few pounds (about 454 to 1,360 grams) to up to 90 pounds (40.5 kg). It has a water content of up to 95 percent and is a popular summer treat, eaten sliced, or cut into fruit salad. It wears a green rind (some varieties have pale green stripes), with red, white, yellow, or pink flesh, and can be found in a round, oval, or oblong shape, with seeds and seedless. The watermelon is said to be African in origin, with over 50 varieties in existence worldwide.

Cantaloupe

Called Charentais in France, cantaloupes have orange flesh and a distinctive taupe, rough-surfaced rind, sometimes with green stripes. What Americans call cantaloupes are in reality a variety of muskmelon.

Muskmelon

Also called netted melons, muskmelons are round, with orange flesh and a ruddy beige “netted” skin. Several hybrid varieties exist that combine desirable characteristics of the muskmelon and cantaloupe.

Cranshaw

This is an oval-shaped summer melon with a golden-yellow rind.

Winter melons (available in American markets, but imported from tropical climates) include the following:

Honeydew

These melons have a smooth, pale-green to creamy yellow skin with sweet, pale-green flesh. Honeydews can range in shape from round to oval and usually weigh from 3 to 6 pounds (about 1,362 to 2724g).

Casaba

Casabas are round or oval melons with yellow or orange skin that is green at the ends. The flesh is creamy white.

Canary

Fragrant when ripe, these oblong melons have bright yellow rinds and sweet, off-white flesh.

Persian

This variety looks like a large muskmelon. It has dark green skin with taupe netting and firm orange flesh.

Prince

Similar to a honeydew in outer appearance, the round Prince melon has orange flesh.

Ogen

This is a small, round, hybrid melon created in the 1960s on an Israeli kibbutz. It usually has green to yellow skin with juicy pink or light green flesh.

Galia

Also an Israeli hybrid, this melon has a beige rind and aromatic, light green flesh.

Santa Claus

This oblong melon has yellow skin with prominent green and black stripes. The Santa Claus melon has a pale green flesh similar to that of a honeydew.

Nutrition Highlights

Melon (cantaloupe), 1 cup (approx. 11.5 balls)
Calories: 56
Protein: 1.4g
Carbohydrate: 13.4g
Total Fat: 0.45g
Fiber: 1.3g
*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.

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