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Aug 21, 2007 12:10 PM

HELP - how to pick a HONEYDEW melon

somehow my luck with getting a flavorful honeydew is running about 50 how does one chose a sweet flavorful melon?

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  1. Everyone has their own method and I'm sure lots of us will contradict each other! That being said - what I do is: buy at a local market where you can be sure your melon hasn't been shipped in; thump the melon lightly and look for a dense but hollow sound; press the stem end and look for a slight softness; sniff the melon and look for a subtle melon scent; and, hope for the best.

    3 Replies
    1. re: lupaglupa

      Second re pressing the stem end for a little softness ... and when you sniff it, sniff the stem end as well, since that seems to be where you'll find the most melony scent (if there is one). Also, in my experience the fruit guy at the supermarket (assuming that's where you're shopping) will often cut one of them for you; of course, there's no guarantee that the one you choose will be like the one he cuts, but it may give you some idea of what the run of the melons is like. And best of all, buy melons at the farmers' market.

      1. re: ozhead

        Except that after a couple of people have pressed the end, it will be more than a little softer.

      2. re: lupaglupa

        I agree that buying at a local market - I know that I buy all of my produce at a farm market- and even if they do not grow the produce themselves ( oranges, for example) I trust that the quality will be good.
        I bought a melon a few weeks ago at this market- it was fabulous- but I really did not do anything special in choosing it- but past experience has shown me that all of their products will be good.

      3. Honeydews need to feel slightly sticky or "velvety". If none in the store feel this way, just buy a "slick" one and leave it out on the counter a couple days until it has that slightly sticky feel. Unlike other melons, it will continue to ripen there

        1 Reply
        1. re: jjw

          I agree with you about the "slightly sticky, or velvety feel", but I would describe it as waxy. This always works for me, in combination with the fragrance.
          I have always heard, however that honeydews, as opposed to canteloupes, do not continue to ripen after they are picked.

        2. My mom grew up in Northern California in a farming family. We are all fruit fanatics. She is visiting me right now, and just picked the best honeydew melon at the grocery store. She said that it really needs to be yellow (less green). She also said that it has to smell. Have you ever tried honeydew with lime squeezed on top? It's my favorite!

          2 Replies
          1. re: melibubarbie

            Yes, your nose is one of the best sensors you have in picking out a good honeydew melon. It has to smell fragrant - VERY fragrant - like the flesh wants to jump out at you fragrant. It should have some give to the outer skin, and it should be yellow - almost golden in color - no green anywhere.

            A produce stand owner near me takes a Sharpie marker and takes the liberty of scribbling "Pick me I'm sugar sweet" on his honeydews so we know exactly which ones in the bunch are ripe. He also sometimes writes "Take me Home". It's a clever way to get rid of your close-to-over-ripened fruit *and* satisfy a customer at the same time.

            1. re: melibubarbie

              mmmmm...honeydew with fresh lime juice squeezed on top...I discovered this, too, in part because I had a fresh lime on hand; and, because when I first squeezed lime on cantaloupe IT tasted delicious; finally, I know in Mexico nearly every fruit is served with lime juice on it and it magically heightens the flavor of the fruit whilst at the same time adding a touch of acid which brightens any naturally sweet fruit. The humble lime is truly a gift from heaven if there ever was...enjoy! (:

            2. The very best, proven-out advice I've ever gotten, was to smell the stem end. When it smells of honeydew, it's perfectly ripe. No scent? Don't buy. Or at least, hold off on eating it 'til it has a scent. :)

              2 Replies
              1. re: mamachef

                +1. I know it's a little "past" prime when I can catch the scent walking by it on the kitchen counter. Still yum though.

                1. re: pinehurst

                  This is the problem I have regarding smell: now even in many of the farmers' markets melons are chill so what odor they might give is muted if there is any smell at all. Because I live in a warm temperate climate city (Los Angeles, CA USA) many fruits are now on display medium-chilled at least. So I really have to use my intuition which is good since my sensitivity of smell at age 65 has attenuated a quite a bit. When I say intuition, btw, I specifically mean smell intuition, i.e. extrapolating from what I do smell by way of other visual tactile cues. It's unfortunate for a lover of food and cooking to have to put up with smell loss, but it is also a great opportunity to develop the other senses to a point where they can amplify what little smell I have.

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