Use your melon

Three melon salad

In the heat of summer, few things are as refreshing as a ripe, succulent melon. Choosing the right melon at the market, however, can be a difficult task. Do you thump it or sniff it? And what should the fruit look like? Russ Parsons of the L.A. Times offers some tips on how to pick the perfect melon.

Melons can be roughly divided into two groups based on the texture of their outer covering, and melons in both camps can have green or orange flesh. Smooth-skinned melons are in the honeydew family, while rough-skinned melons belong to the cantaloupe family. Which group the melon belongs to determines the selection criteria you should use. (You may be wondering about watermelons - it turns out they aren't even in the same botanical family. Parsons assures us he will give us pointers on those another time.)

Rough-skinned melons offer us more clues to guide us to the right fruit. You are looking for "netting that is raised above the rind; a golden background color; a clean "belly button," where the stem has slipped free; and a profoundly melon-y perfume." Smooth-skinned melons pose a greater challenge for picking as they don't have any odor. For these melons, you should seek out a "slightly velvety, almost waxy texture to the rind; a background color that is more rich cream than ivory; a golden color to the pale spot where the melon rested on the ground; and subtle cracking around the stem end."

While just enjoying the ripe fruit on its own is delicious, the article offers twelve recipes if you want to branch out a bit. And for additional inspiration, take a gander at these top-rated melon recipes from the EYB Library:

Melon, peach and red wine sorbet from indexed blog Tinned Tomatoes
Gazpacho with honeydew and peppadew from indexed blog Food52
Cantaloupe ice pops (Paletas de melón) by Fany Gerson
Mango and melon verrines from Fine Cooking Magazine
Shaved honeydew, fennel, and olive salad from Bon Appétit Magazine

Photo of Three melon salad with mint from indexed blog Serious Eats

1 Comment

  • hillsboroks  on  8/17/2014 at 10:47 PM

    We are really lucky to have the "Melon Lady" at our local farmers market . She brings a truckload of wonderful assorted melons from Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge each week. You just tell her what kind and when you want it ready to eat and she thumps and sniffs and finds you the perfect melon every time. There is always a long line but it moves fast and it is always worth it!

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