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Melons: Rock melon, Cantaloupe »« Mango

Melons Honeydew

Cucumis melo


Photo courtesy of Horticulture New Zealand

Description

The honeydew, sweeter than its cousin rock melon, is a fantastic dessert melon. Though it’s technically a vegetable, related to other vine crops such as pumpkins and cucumbers, What’s Fresh has classed it as a fruit because that’s how it’s normally used and thought of.

Honeydew has a creamy yellow skin and very sweet, pale green flesh. Unlike other melons, the honeydew will ripen once it’s been harvested, with the flesh turning colour from green to white. You can check its ripeness by pressing the stem end. On a ripe melon, it will be slightly soft.

Honeydew is a good source of vitamins C and B6, as well as folate and potassium.

Store a ripe honeydew in the fridge for up to four days, but eat it at room temperature. If you need to store it after it’s been cut, cover it in clingfilm because it has a strong smell and will make everything else in the fridge smell like melon.

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History

Melons probably originate in Persia, Afghanistan, and Armenia, and while not much is known about their history, there’s evidence that the Greeks and Romans knew about them.

Ancient melons seem to have been more like cucumber, however, but by the 3rd century had been cultivated into something sweeter and were eaten with spices, and by the 6th or 7th century were thought of in their own right.

There are references in texts in the 15th and 16th centuries referring to them as being delicious and aromatic, and by then seeds were being left wherever explorers ventured.

Uses

Honeydew is best eaten raw, as it doesn’t hold up well when cooked. Try it in fruit salad, or place halved melon in the freezer and scoop it out like ice cream.

Facts

The honeydew was a favourite fruit of both Napoleon and Pope John Paul II.

Honeydew is popular in Japan, and its flavour is the one you can find in the liqueur Midori.

Honeydew is the American name for the melon. The cultivar is actually called White Antibes, and it’s been grown for years in France and Algeria.



Melons: Rock melon, Cantaloupe »« Mango

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