How do you know when is honeydew ripe, ready to be picked, or ready to be eaten? Either you are planning to grow them in your backyard garden, or have purchased a matured honeydew from the market, knowing when it is ripe and ready to eat can make the difference between completely wasting a supposed to be good fruit or enjoying it at its best.
What are Honeydews?
The basic thing you should understand about honeydews is that they are a type of melon. Melons are mainly categorized as either a winter or a summer variety.
Honeydew is one of those melons that belong to the winter variety. Summer varieties grow, of course in hotter climates and survive in very little water.
Because of this, summer melons like the water melons, which are dark green in color with red flesh are often grown in hotter climates – especially tropical countries. Due to the very little need to water, these green watermelons are also popular as a drought fruit since they are one of the few that can survive drought.
Honeydew melons, on the other hand, are a bit harder to grow. They also require more water than the summer varieties and can survive cooler climates but are still best grown during the summer months. Honeydews grow all year round but the best tasting ones are the ones harvested during the summer, of whichever country you may be in.
Note that while some countries may enjoy summer around April and May, there are other countries whose summers may well be around August until September. This being the case, different countries produce their best honeydews at different times of the year.
How Should Honeydews Taste Like?
Honeydews are the sweetest type of melons, which is basically saying a lot considering that melons are generally sweet. They are not as watery as watermelons, but has more of a juicy flesh, which is very similar to Papaya, a fruit growing in the northern parts of the country.
Just like its namesake, a perfectly ripened honeydew melon would have a honey-like flavor and sweetness to it. However, if a honeydew is picked before it is fully mature, it would taste quite bland and would lack the juiciness and honey sweetness that it should possess, even after it has ripened fully.
If you are growing your own honeydews, know that once immature honeydews are removed from the vines, they can no longer ripen.
Visual Signs of Ripeness
Ripe honeydew melons should be symmetrically well-rounded. The thick will have a waxy appearance but with a steady creamy color that ranges from white to yellow.
If there are green patches, don’t get it because it most likely means that it was picked off from the vine before it can have a chance to fully mature. Honeydews typically weigh around 3 pounds so try to go for one that is relatively heavy for its size.
You should check for any areas that may be indented and discolored because those are most likely bruises on the flesh of the fruit that can affect the taste somehow, not to mention shelf life.
The Fragrance indicators
You should check the way your fruit smells before you buy it, even it is not yet ripe. They ought to have an unsoiled, sweet-smelling aroma that is most likely to get stronger as it ripens.
It is occasionally better to find a honeydew that is not precisely ripe yet. You can leave it in the kitchen for several days before you eat it without having to go to the grocery just to have a fresh fruit for dinner.
The upper part of the honeydew provides clues on both the ripeness and maturity. Bear in mind that the more fragrant the scent is, the sweeter your honeydew is probably going to be.
Check the Sound
Honeydews, just like practically all melons, contain seeds inside that are resolutely attached to its flesh even during maturity. As the honeydew becomes riper, the seeds will start to loosen from the flesh.
Jiggle your honeydew and listen for any rattling sound inside. If it doesn’t seem ripe enough yet, you can still buy it and just wait for it to become ready in your pantry. You can also try thumping on your honeydew melon.
If you hear a dull thud, then most likely, it is ready to be eaten and served. If it is ripe, the seeds that have gotten loose from the flesh of the fruit will create an empty space in the center of the fruit which would make a thud when knocking on it will be decipherable.
Feel the Firmness
A ripe honeydew melon can be pushed, the unripe ones are sure to be hard as a stalwart so when you push on a honeydew melon, it should be firm but will yield a little then return to its original position. Be careful with the ones that are too resilient because these one can either have ripened in the vine or are now over ripe. Either way is not a good buy.
Check the bottom of your fruit, the one directly opposed the stem. Push on it gently and if it gives way and then spring back, you will know that your honeydew is ripe. You should also try running your hands over the skin of your fruit, you should notice some creasing which you may be hard to appreciate by looking at the fruit but can be felt with your hands.
Check for the signs indicated in this article next time you buy honeydews! Let us know what you think and leave them in the comments section below.