Many melons originated in the Middle
East and gradually spread its popularity across Europe.
enjoyed cantaloupes or muskmelons. Melon seeds were
transported to the United
States by Columbus and eventually cultivated by Spanish
explorers in California.
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Melons are in the same
family as squashes
Most melons have similar structure to winter squash with
thick flesh and inner seed-filled midsection. So what’s
the difference between melons and squashes? It’s the way
that they’re used. Squashes are considered vegetables,
while melons are known as fruits
with sweet and juicy flavor.
Melons are a good source of vitamin C and potassium.
They have high water content are relatively low in Calories,
and also fat
and cholesterol free.
There are many melon
varieties. Cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon
are the most well known varieties.
— Also called a muskmelon, this familiar fruit
with orange flesh and khaki netted colored skin provides
the most beta-carotene in the entire melon family. Select
melons that are slightly golden with a light fragrant
smell (an indication of its ripeness). Cantaloupe is
typically available year-round, with a June through August
Unlike the other melons, casaba melons do not have an
aroma. This is a large melon that is pale yellow when ripe
and has white flesh with a sweet taste. This melon peaks
in the fall, but starts showing up in markets in July
— These melons can weigh up to ten pounds and deliver a
unique sweet and spicy flavor. They are a hybrid between
the casaba and Persian melon with a yellowish skin and salmon-colored
flesh. Peak season for Crenshaw melons is August through
September, with the fruit season beginning in July and
ending in October.
— 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. It’s best from June through
October, but is available year round.
— This melon is quite similar to the Cantaloupe, but it
slightly larger in size, has a greener rind, and on the
outside it has finer netting. Persian melons peak in
August and September with the season beginning in June and
— This melon is also known as the Christmas melon
because it peaks during the month of December. This
variety is similar to the watermelon with the green and
gold stripes, but is about a foot long and isn’t as
sweet as the other melons.
— This melon tastes like a cantaloupe and honeydew
combined. Sharlyn melons are sweet with netted outer
layer, greenish-orange rind, and white flesh. The
availability varies, so check your local supermarkets and
melons should be shaped according to their variety. For
example, cantaloupes should be round, etc. In addition,
melons should not have cracks, soft spots, or dark
bruises. You should look for a clean and smooth break at
the stem and for most mature melons have a fruity
fragrance (if not chilled).
Keep uncut melons
at room temperature for two to four days or until fully
ripe, then refrigerate for up to 5 days. Refrigerate cut
up melon in a covered container up to 3 days. Remember
that cut melons are aromatic and their smell will
penetrate other foods.
melons in warm soapy water before cutting to get rid of
any impurity on the rind that might be carried from the
knife blade to the flesh. Simply cut the melon in half and
scoop out the seeds and strings. Melons can be cut into
halves, quarters, wedges, cubes, or scooped into balls
with a melon baller. Most melons will benefit from a
squeeze of lemon
or lime juice to enhance the flavor. Serve at room