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Melon FAQs

nick musica
Published Dec 07, 2020. Read time: 1 minute

Melons are incredibly versatile fruits that find homes in beloved recipes around the world. From fruit salads to spiced chutneys, midori sours to aguas frescas, wrapped in prosciutto or covered in cream, melons are a fantastic canvas for culinary creativity. Melons can be prepared in both sweet and savory recipes, and in drinks for every age!

Watermelons, cantaloupes and honeydews are perhaps the most iconic melons in the United States. If you like those, you’ll love meeting more of the Cucurbitaceae botanical family! There are dozens of melon varieties, each with a distinctive flavor and sweet, fleshy fruit. 

When you’re ready to buy next-level melons, Fruitstand has you covered. We sell hard-to-find, top quality melons direct to you from our small, specialty farm partners. 

It’s important to note that the flavor of different melons varies widely between different varieties. When ripe, some are very sweet like a ripe honeydew, lightly sweet like cantaloupe, or bitter like, well, bitter melon. In general, melons are known for a pronounced, pleasantly musky flavor that’s sweet, floral and fresh, often accompanied by a watery yet firm flesh with varying levels of density. These fruits grow increasingly fragrant as they ripen, which indicates the flavor of the flesh inside.

That unmistakably heady fragrance is helpful to determine a melon’s ripeness. It should have a pleasantly sweet and musky, almost tropical, smell. The whole fruit should feel heavy for its size in your hands, and should be free of blemishes. Press gently into the melon with your thumb and feel it yield gently. If the fruit is still hard, let the melon sit on the counter for another day or two. Now, look at the colors of the rind. Some melons, like watermelon, are only harvested when ripe and have a green skin. For other melons, green usually indicates that there’s still more ripening to do.

All varieties of melons are considered to be botanical berries and culinary fruits. Melons are then categorized into three general types, or genuses. These are Benincasa, which has a single variety called winter melon; Citrullus, which includes the iconic watermelon and others with seeds suspended throughout their flesh; and Cucumis, the largest group whose seeds are clustered into the center of the melon fruit.

Today there are melons that grow natively everywhere in the world. Melons are believed to have originated, however, in an area of the world that spans parts of Africa, the Middle East and India.

Melons are a diverse group of fruits with a wide color palette, inside and out. Inside and out, melons can range in colors from green to yellow, orange, pink, red, and just about every warm color in between. In many cases, the color of the melon on the outside is different from the flesh on the inside. Seed colors can range from white to yellow, brown and black.

Most often, melons will tell you they’re ripe by their unmistakably heady fragrance. While the sizes, colors and rinds for each melon variety will differ, here are a few tips for telling whether a melon is ripe. 

First, the melon should have a pleasantly sweet and musky smell. The whole fruit should feel heavy for its size in your hands, and should be free of blemishes. Press gently into the melon with your thumb and feel it yield gently. If it’s hard, let the melon sit for another day or two. Now, look at the colors of the rind. Some melons, like watermelon, are picked when ripe and have a green skin. For other melons, like cantaloupe, green can indicate that there’s still more ripening to do. Choose melons whose flesh is completely in it’s ripe color phase.

Melons are easy to prepare in many culinary ways! Melons are known for their thick rinds that protect the firm, sweet flesh and seeds inside. Some rinds are inedible, like that of cantaloupe. Other rinds are primed for pickling, like that of the watermelon.

In general, many varieties of melon seeds are edible either raw or cooked. Each variety is different, and some seeds may only be safe to eat once they’ve been cooked to improve texture and remove certain naturally occurring chemicals that can be toxic. Seeds may be roasted or boiled. 

Melons can be eaten raw in slices, or enjoyed in salads, smoothies, shakes and sorbets. They may also be cooked through grilling, boiling, baking and more! Heat brings out melon’s natural sugars, giving them even more unique and complex flavor.

In general, many varieties of melon seeds are edible either raw or cooked. Each variety is different, and some seeds may only be safe to eat once they’ve been cooked to improve texture and remove certain naturally occurring chemicals that can be toxic.

Did you know that melons grow everywhere on Earth except for Antarctica? That’s right. These tenacious fruits have native varieties that are enjoyed throughout the world today. Melons are believed to have originated in an area of the world that spans parts of Africa, the Middle East and India.

We love melons for all of the unique flavors each bring to the table. Whether a muskmelon, watermelon, crenshaw or casaba, each variety of melon has a unique nutritional profile. Consult with your doctor if you have questions about adding certain melons to your diet. In general, melons are loved for their hydrating properties, fiber, vitamins A and C, folate, and other important vitamins and minerals.

Grown throughout the world, melon season long, typically lasting from spring through the fall. Many consider the peak melon season to run from May through August, depending on the melon variety.

Melons are incredibly versatile fruits that find homes in beloved recipes around the world. From fruit salads to spiced chutneys, midori sours to aguas frescas, wrapped in prosciutto or covered in cream, melons are a fantastic canvas for culinary creativity. Melons can be prepared in both sweet and savory recipes, and in drinks for every age!

It’s important to note that the flavor of different melons varies widely between different varieties. When ripe, some are very sweet like a ripe honeydew, lightly sweet like cantaloupe, or bitter like, well, bitter melon. In general, melons are known for a pronounced, pleasantly musky flavor that’s sweet, floral and fresh, often accompanied by a watery yet firm flesh with varying levels of density. These fruits grow increasingly fragrant as they ripen, which indicates the flavor of the flesh inside.

Melons are loved by people of all ages around the globe. And with so many species to choose from, these botanical berries add fresh, crisp sweetness to tons of different recipes. These fruits can be eaten raw, even pickled or fermented. Heat makes the natural sugars of melon even more pronounced, which is why so many varieties are used in grilling, roasting, baking and candy making.

Melons are a diverse group of fruits, with endless potential to add fresh, crisp sweetness to drink recipes. These fruits can be sipped in juices, water, cocktails, batch drinks, smoothies and liqueurs. To make delicious alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, use your melons to make a basic syrup, to stir into your drinks.

Many melons have a generous shelf life and can be stored whole on the countertop even after they are ripe. Depending on the melon, it should last over a week this way. Those who live in a warmer or more humid climates may find better melon storage success by keeping them in the fridge. Cut or ripe melons should be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.

To freeze melons, wait until they are fully ripened and slice the melon to remove any inedible seeds or rind (depending on the variety). Freeze sliced melon on a cookie sheet with space between each piece. Once frozen, store the fruit in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months.

Heck yeah! Good doggos love a fresh hunk of melon as a treat every once in a while. Be sure to avoid giving your dog the seeds or rinds of melon as they could cause gnarly tummy pains (and a trip to the vet).

Over at FruitStand, we love sharing fruit with our wet-nosed friends, so we encourage you to clear the safety of any new fruits or veggies with your veterinarian before offering them your pooch.

The soft flesh and sticky juice found in many melons could leave a stain on certain fabrics. If you drop some on your clothing, table cloth or napkins, treat the spot with a dab of dish soap or stain remover that’s safe for that particular fabric to prevent the spot from setting. Pop the item into the washer as soon as you can!

Melons come in a variety of textures, some of which can be deliciously messy with nectarous juice. If you drop some on your clothing, table cloth or napkins, treat the spot with a dab of dish soap or stain remover that’s safe for that particular fabric. Follow the directions on the product to prevent the spot from setting, and pop the item into the washer as soon as you can.

Are melons just sweet, juicy pumpkins? Pretty much. Melons like cantaloupe and watermelon, and gourds like squash and zucchini, are part of the same botanical family, the latin name for which is Cucurbitaceae. Speaking of botany, all 1,000+ species of these fruits are considered to be berries, and can be found everywhere on Earth except for Antarctica!

From a culinary perspective, melons are essentially sweet-tasting gourds, and therefore often considered culinary fruits. They generally have sweet to bitter tasting flesh, that’s crisp and somewhat watery. Veggies like cucumber and zucchini have similar flesh as other melons, but do not have a sweet flavor. Gourds like pumpkin and acorn squash have slight sweetness, but are more starchy than what we’d consider a typical melon to have.

In summary, the botanical and culinary views these big ol’ berries differently. For our purposes, melons are the musky, aromatic and sweet (sometimes bitter) fruits we know and love.

Have your once sweet-smelling melons gone from pleasant to pungent? Don’t worry, it’s easy to get bad smells from melons out of your house in a few simple steps.

First, discard any spoiled melon and get it outside! Then, clean the area where melons were stored with hot, soapy water or home cleaning spray. Let it dry thoroughly.

To prevent bad smells from fruit in your kitchen and home, keep an old-fashioned box of baking soda in your fridge and anywhere you store food every two to three months. Immediately store cut melon in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When not refrigerated, only store whole, fresh fruit in a cool, clean and well ventilated area.

 

If you’ve ever wondered where to buy melons, we’ve got great news for you! FruitStand is proud to partner with small, specialty farmers to bring you an exceptional variety and quality of hard to find melons. To be the first to know when FruitStand is shipping specialty melons harvests directly to your door, join our email newsletter!

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