Summer is the sweetest season of the year, yielding stone fruit, grapes, mangoes and decadently juicy melons. Although varieties like Honeydew and Cantaloupe are available year round, they reach their sweet, nutrient-packed peak of perfection right around now. Great seasonal varieties are also ripening, each more luscious and juicy than the next, waiting for you to try them.
Everyone knows we measure summer’s heat in degrees, but did you know there’s a scientific measure for fruit’s sugar content? To measure the sugar content, we dribble a bit of fresh juice into a tool called a fractometer, which assesses the amount of sucrose in the liquid. The fractometer then shows a measurement of sweetness, called a sugar brix. The higher the brix, the sweeter the fruit.
Melons are the sweetest members of the Curcurbit family of fruits and vegetables, which also includes cucumbers and squash. This may be surprising because they taste so different, but they grow in similar ways – on long vines – and mostly have delicious flesh with seeds.
In addition to the commonly known melons, there are so many more worth getting to know. In fact, there are over 300 varieties of watermelon alone!
Check out our quick melon primer below to see what melons you should look for in the produce department this summer. Melons come in many shapes, sizes and colors, but they all have one thing in common: they’re sure to be delicious.
Canary Melons vary in shape from oval to oblong, almost similar to a bright yellow Honeydew Melon. The pale green to cream-colored skin protects the juicy pale orange flesh. Its firm, crisp flesh offers a very distinctive delicately sweet flavor, which tastes more like a Cantaloupe.
This melon is golden yellow with greenish coloration on its wrinkled exterior. The round, pumpkin shaped melon has a slight point at the stem end. The flesh is creamy-green, juicy and lightly sweet. Delicious eaten by as is, or for added flavor, try it with a sprinkle of ginger, salt or a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Casaba melons add sweetness to fruit salads and are refreshing used in drinks, like fruit punch, margaritas or daiquiris.
|LEMON DROP MELON
This melon features a netted rough cornflower gold peel with pale lime longitudinal grooves and a heavy weight for its size. When opened, its thick, dense and succulent pale glacial green flesh bears a central cluster of seeds easily removed. Unlike any other melon, the Lemon Drop (true to its name) has no floral aromatics and not a trace of sub-acid sweetness, rather its flavors are filled with the overt signature sweet tartness of lemon, subtle hints of honeydew and watermelon and due to its low sugar content, it displays no candied syrup qualities within its juices.
|SANTA CLAUS MELON
The attractive green and gold-to-bright yellow striped Santa Claus melon somewhat resembles a small watermelon. Inside is a mellow and mildly flavored pale greenish flesh very similar to that of a honeydew, but not as sweet. The color of the characteristic stripes on its hard shell is a sign of this melon’s ripeness. The brighter the yellow, the riper and sweeter it is.
Information provided by Melissa’s