Melons are great all by themselves, though some people like to perk up their flavor by sprinkling lemon juice, salt, or liqueur on them.
All melons should also be heavy for their size.
Cantaloupe = nutmeg melon = muskmelon = netted melon = rockmelon
Notes: These are popular because they're easy to select and very sweet. Ripe cantaloupes have dull yellow backgrounds with raised netting. Avoid those with protruding stems, or tears in the rind at the stem end--it's a tell-tale sign that the melon was picked too soon. When ripe melons are picked, the stem falls off easily, leaving a small, clean depression. After checking the stem end, flip the melon over and check the blossom end. It should be fragrant and yield a bit when pressed. Cantaloupes are cheapest in the summer.
Substitutes: Cranshaw melon OR honeydew melon OR Persian melon (larger)
Notes: This sweet, juicy melon is a honeydew-cantaloupe cross. Its biggest drawback is its relatively high price.
Substitutes: honeydew OR cantaloupe
Honeydew melon = honey dew melon
Notes: These large, choice melons have either green or orange flesh. As honeydews ripen, they turn from green to creamy white to yellow. Avoid green ones, but a creamy white one will (unlike other melons) ripen on your counter in a few days. A perfectly ripe honeydew will yield just a bit to pressure at the blossom end and have a sticky, velvety rind.
Substitutes: cantaloupe OR Cranshaw melon
Notes: There are about 50 varieties of watermelon on the market. They all taste about the same, but they vary in size, flesh color, and in whether they are seeded or seedless. Picnic melons are largest, while icebox melons are round and compact. Many stores also carry yellow-fleshed, white-fleshed, and seedless melons. The rind should be heavy for its size, and free of bruises, soft spots, or cuts. To check for ripeness, look at the pale side of the melon (where it rested while it was growing)--it should be yellow, not white. If your market sells halved watermelons, inspect the flesh--it should be firm, brightly colored, and free of white streaks. Seeded watermelons should have dark brown or black seeds. To store, wrap watermelon slices loosely in plastic and refrigerate for up to two days. Uncut watermelon can be stored at room temperature (preferably in a cool spot) for up to two weeks.
Substitutes: honeydew melon
Many melons originated in the Middle East and gradually spread its popularity across Europe. Ancient Egyptians and Romans enjoyed cantaloupes or muskmelons. Melon seeds were transported to the United States by Columbus and eventually cultivated by Spanish explorers in California.
Did you know:
That melons are in the same gourd family as squashes and cucumbers.
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.
You should always wash 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.
Serving size: 100 grams
Keep uncut melons at room temperature until fully ripened, then store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Cut melon should always be covered with clingfilm and used within 3 days.
For a thick, refreshing, extraordinarily nutritious smoothie or protein shake, toss several frozen chunks of melon in your blender instead of ice cubes.
The mild sweetness of melon blends perfectly with all other types of fruit and even complements chocolate protein powders.