As the summer bounty of seasonal produce arrives by the truckload, ripe and ready melons top my grocery list. From honeydew to watermelon to cantaloupe, now’s the perfect time to pick a sweet, juicy and fragrant melon.
Melon Tips & Prep Ideas
Enjoy succulent honeydew, a delectable muskmelon with notes of cucumber.
Prep Idea: Wrapped with a paper-thin slice of prosciutto. This salty-sweet combination is a guaranteed hit on any appetizer platter.
Selection: Check out the smooth (blossom) end of your melon. It should yield to gentle pressure and exude a fruity aroma. The skin of a honeydew should have a golden, not green, hue under the surface. If your melon requires additional ripening, store it a few days in the warmest part of your home—even your garage will do, assuming it’s not too hot. When the surface becomes tacky versus waxy, you know the sugars have developed. If you love honeydew, sample a bright yellow canary melon or globe-shaped golden crenshaw, two more varieties peaking this time of year.
Nothing tastes like summer more than a ruby red watermelon. Whether you prefer it with seeds or without, a personal-sized watermelon stands apart. Averaging about five pounds, these seedless melons are perfect for smaller families and they leave more room in your refrigerator for another melon variety! Thanks to their thin rind, there’s more melon to enjoy.
Prep Idea: The sweetness of the watermelon pairs wonderfully with sharp cheeses. As a kid, I’d watch my dad sit down with a thick watermelon wedge, salt shaker and chunk of cheddar cheese. Today I get the best of both worlds with a slice of feta cheese or firm ricotta salata.
Prep Ideas: One of my favorite summer desserts is sweet cantaloupe over sherbet or vanilla ice cream. It’s also wonderful tossed into chicken salad or diced for a fresh salsa over seafood or pork.
Selection: Look for cantaloupe with a tight netting, symmetrical shape and fragrant bouquet at the blossom end. In general, all melons should feel heavy for their size which indicates a large juice content and sweet, sumptuous essence.