How to ripen honeydew?

pixsfile/iStock/Getty Images

When perfectly ripe, honeydew melons are sweet and juicy with a mild honey-like flavor. An under-ripe honeydew, however, is bland and lacks the juicy bite that a ripe melon has. Mature melons provide visual, tactile and olfactory cues that separate them from their under-ripe counterparts. Look for a honeydew that is symmetrical in appearance, emits a sweet-smelling fragrance from the stem end, and yields when pressure is applied to its opposite end.

Visual Cues

Ripe honeydew melons are both spherical and symmetrical. The rind should appear waxy with a creamy, uniform color that ranges from yellow to white. Avoid honeydews with any green coloring on the rind, as this indicates under-ripeness. Choose a melon that is heavy for its size and has no soft or discolored spots. The ends of the honeydew provide telltale signs of maturity. A fresh and sweet-smelling aroma present at the stem end indicates ripeness; the more aromatic the scent, the sweeter the melon. A gentle probe of the end opposite the stem yields slightly and feel soft and springy when it’s ripe. Perfectly ripe honeydews have a subtle wrinkling on the rind’s surface that, while nearly indistinguishable by sight, can be detected by touch. Honeydews continue to ripen and increase in sweetness for a few days after they have been harvested, but they must have matured on the vine. A slightly sunken and well-callused stem end is indicative of a melon that has been vine-ripened.

How to Know When to Pick a Honeydew Melon

Honeydew melon is the taste of summer all wrapped up in a convenient package. While they’re available in stores most of the summer, they’re not always picked at the peak of ripeness. Honeydews get softer when they’re off the vine but they don’t get sweeter. Knowing when to pick or harvest a honeydew melon means you’ll get it at its very best.

The seed package will have a days-to-harvest range. Use this as a guide not the exact date to pick the honeydew melon. Cool weather, not enough rain or cloudy days may delay the harvest beyond the package guide. Honeydew melons require a long growing season of warm weather. If that’s not possible, plant the seeds inside to give them a head start and transplant in the garden when the weather is warm.

One tip in knowing when to harvest is the scent of the fruit. The melon will smell sweet with a faint odor of melon. It’s not as strong as ripe cantaloupe but it’s much stronger than ripe watermelon which has hardly any scent at all. In the grocery store it’s easy to pick up a melon and sniff. In the garden you’ll have to get down to ground level.

Feel the surface of the melon because that’s another way to tell if is ripe. A very fine netting should be apparent to your fingers but won’t be visible to the eye. If the melon is beige with green veining it’s not ready yet. The melon should feel heavy for its size. Pick it up gently so you don’t yank it off the vine. The area near the blossom end should be softened and the stem end a bit springy. The melon should be pale yellow with patches of lemon yellow.

If the melon is in the garden the sure way to determine if it’s ripe is to taste it. This works if you have a number of melons growing. Wasting one or two won’t be a problem. If the first one isn’t ready yet the others will mature in a few days to a week. If you only have a few honeydew melons, sacrificing one may not be reasonable. Use other methods.

Many gardeners think that if a melon, including honeydew melons, slips off the vine without much of a struggle, that it’s ripe. Unfortunately over ripe melons do the same thing. Some melons like watermelon and Persian melons don’t slip off at all.

The Author:

Find more gardening tips. Dee Power is the author of several nonfiction books.

Photo Credit: Yotoen

Article Source:

How To Tell If Your Cantaloupe Is Ripe

How To Identify The Perfect Cantaloupe


The perfect cantaloupe will have a raised netting pattern of a creamy beige color. The rind underneath the textured netting can be anywhere from yellow, tan, to cream-colored, but a green or greenish-grey rind covered by flat netting means the cantaloupe is not ripe.

Avoid cantaloupes with brown or black spots, dents, bruises, holes, or wet, leaking ends. Melons with some discoloration are okay, since this is likely just the spot where the melon rested on the ground or was exposed to excess sunlight. Cantaloupes are grown in soil, so white discolorations are normal and will not affect taste.


You should be able to feel the netted or webbed texture on the outside of the melon – smooth skin is bad news, unless it’s restricted to a single patch where the melon was probably touching the ground. A ripe cantaloupe will be firm to the touch but not rock hard. You should be able to gently press down on the melon skin without feeling soft or mushy patches. (Do not press too hard on the cantaloupe, as this may cause bruising!) A ripe cantaloupe is likely to also feel heavier than it looks when you go to pick it up.


A ripe melon can be tapped or knocked lightly and produce a low, deep sound, while a higher, more hollow sound is a bad sign.


A great trick for determining cantaloupe ripeness is checking the bottom of the cantaloupe (called the “the blossom end”, opposite from the part where the stem was attached) for a pleasant, fragrant smell. A perfectly ripe cantaloupe will have a floral, fresh cantaloupe aroma, whereas an unripe cantaloupe will typically have no smell or a very faint smell. An overwhelmingly strong smell tends to indicate an overripe, fermenting cantaloupe. Beware the scent of alcohol or acetone (nail polish remover smell), as this means the melon you’re sniffing has begun fermenting inside and will be unpleasantly mushy.

Healthy Features To Look For

When cantaloupes are ripe and ready to be harvested, the melon will naturally slip off the vine and produce a clean depression where the stem was connected. When shopping for cantaloupes, look for smooth, round ends where the stems have detached evenly. Avoid cantaloupes with jagged, torn, or lumpy stem remnants protruding from the melon, since these melons were harvested too early and will not be very sweet or flavorful.

Learn About Honeydew

Common Disease Problems

Alternaria Leaf Spot: Small, round reddish brown spots, usually with a yellow halo, form on the upper surface of the leaves. Severely infected leaves turn brown, curl upward, wither and die. Fruit are not usually infected but can suffer from sunscald due to leaf loss. This disease is worse in warm, wet or very humid weather. Burpee Recommends: Avoid getting water on the foliage. Remove infected plant parts and do not work around wet plants. Provide plenty of air circulation. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.

Anthracnose: This is a fungus disease that attacks the fruit as it is ripening. Irregular brown spots develop on the leaves. Infected fruit develop sunken black spots that may have white mycelia during wet weather. The spots enlarge and turn black; the fruit rots. Extended periods of heat and humidity facilitate anthracnose growth. The fungus overwinters in diseased plant debris. Burpee Recommends: Provide sufficient space between plants for good air circulation, avoid overhead watering which can spread the fungus spores, keep a clean garden, remove and discard all diseased plant material and rotate crops.

Bacterial Wilt: Leaves turn brown, stems wilt and shrivel, the infected plants die. Burpee Recommends: Remove and destroy plants showing signs of the disease. Control cucumber beetles, which spread the disease. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations.

Powdery Mildew: This fungus disease occurs on the top of the leaves in humid weather conditions. The leaves appear to have a whitish or greyish surface and may curl. Burpee Recommends: Avoid powdery mildew by providing good air circulation for the plants by good spacing and pruning. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.

Seed Rot and Damping Off: This is a fungus disease that affects seeds and seedlings. Infected seeds will not spout. Infected seedlings can have brown thin stems and the plants will quickly die. Burpee Recommends: Do not sow seeds until the soil has warmed to 65 degrees. Plant seeds in a raised hill that will warm up earlier. Keep beds moist but not water logged.

Common Pest and Cultural Problems

Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps which feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.

Cucumber Beetles: Beetles may be spotted, striped or banded and can be very harmful. Beetles are usually ¼ to ½ inch in size. Beetles start feeding as soon as they hatch and can kill or slow the growth of the plants. Beetle larva can bore through the roots of the plants. Beetles can also transmit diseases from plant to plant. Burpee Recommends: Knock off adults into a jar of soapy water and destroy them. Spade the soil to destroy dormant beetles before you plant. Use a row cover to prevent adults from feeding on young plants. Consult your Cooperative Extension Service for insecticide recommendations.

Fruit Splitting: This indicates that when the fruit was forming it did not get an even supply of moisture from the roots. A sudden rush of water from sudden and heavy summer rains through the stem can pop the skin of a ripening fruit like an overfilled water balloon. The condition is particularly pronounced after a drought when a summer storm delivers a great amount of water to the tissues in the fruit. The skin cannot expand fast enough and splitting appears. Burpee Recommends: Take care with your watering: instead of a quick sprinkle every day, water deeply once or twice a week (depending on rainfall) so the moisture soaks deeply into the soil where roots can take it up as needed. Soaker hoses can help. Stick your finger into the soil every day to check that it is evenly moist a couple of inches below the surface.

Squash Bugs: Adults are 5/8 inch long and gray or brown. Squash bugs give off a foul odor when crushed. Young nymphs have light green abdomens and black heads and legs. As the nymphs grow they will change color. Eggs are found in groups on the underside of leaves; eggs will be yellow or brown. Squash bugs will feed on leaves and fruit. Burpee Recommends: Brush off adults into a jar of soapy water and destroy them. Check for clusters of eggs on the back of leaves and destroy them. Use a floating row cover to prevent females from laying eggs on plants.

Spider mites: These tiny spider-like pests are about the size of a grain of pepper. They may be red, black, brown or yellow. They suck on the plant juices removing chlorophyll and injecting toxins which cause white dots on the foliage. There is often webbing visible on the plant. They cause the foliage to turn yellow and become dry and stippled. They multiply quickly and thrive in dry conditions. Burpee Recommends: Spider mites may be controlled with a forceful spray every other day. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for miticide recommendations.

Growing Honeydew Melons

Article: Growing Honeydew Melons

November 29, 2011

Honeydew melons may have a long growing season, but they are an interesting crop to grow. Although you may not see gigantic yields when the harvest finally does come in, the rewards of tasting your sweet, homegrown melons will be well worth your efforts. To grow honeydew melons successfully, you’ll need to give them plenty of sunlight, lots of moisture, and heat. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

About Honeydew

In America, honeydew is the common name for a particular cultivar of melon called “White Antibes”, which has long been popular in parts of Europe and North Africa. Although summer-grown, the honeydew melon (Cucumis melo var.) is classified as a “winter” melon. It has a longer growing season (up to 120 days) than other melon varieties like muskmelon, cantaloupe, and watermelon. Honeydew fruits have a round to slightly oval shape and are between 6 and 8 ½ inches long. They typically weigh from 4 to 6 pounds. The flesh is usually pale green in color, with a smooth outer rind that changes from pale green to creamy yellow as it ripens. The sweet, juicy flesh of the honeydew is full of antioxidants and is a good source of vitamin C. When growing honeydews, plan on two plants for each person in your household. Site and Soil Requirements


To ripen properly, honeydews need full sun and warm soil throughout the growing season. Plants grow best in light, fertile soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8. Get your plants off to a good start by preparing the planting bed well ahead of time. This will give the fruits the best possible chance of reaching maturity within the growing season. If you have heavy, clay soil be prepared to amend it with a lot of organic matter to improve the texture and drainage. Melons are heavy feeders and require a lot of nutrients to get the fruits to mature in time for cold weather. To ensure fast, steady growth, dig several inches of compost and well-rotted manure into the soil before planting.


Melon seedlings will not grow when temperatures drop below 50 to 55 F; in fact the vines may not set fruit at all if they’ve been chilled during infancy. When sowing seeds or setting out transplants, you will need to wait longer than until “the danger of frost has passed”. The weather should be warm and the soil temperature at least 70 F. In areas with shorter growing seasons, gardeners should choose fast-maturing varieties, start plants inside, or use black plastic sheeting to speed up soil warming in the spring. After planting, cover the area with a floating row cover to provide additional warmth and protection, and remove them during flowering to allow for pollination.


Direct Sowing: Sow seeds ½ inch deep in hills or rows. Hills should be spaced 4 to 6 feet apart with 6 seeds to a hill. Two weeks after the seedlings emerge, thin each hill down to 2 to 3 strong plants using a scissors. If sowing in rows, space plants 12 inches apart in rows 5 feet apart.

Starting Seeds Indoors: If you’re starting honeydew seeds indoors, wait to start them until 3 to 4 weeks before it’s time to plant them in the garden. Don’t start them too early. The plants should only have one or two true leaves at transplanting time, too many more and the roots will be difficult to establish. Sow the seeds in large peat pots, ½ inch deep, with three seeds to a pot. Place the pots in a location where the soil temperature will remain between 75 F and 90 F. Keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate, then maintain them at a temperature of 70 F or warmer. When the seedlings are about 2 inches tall, thin them down to one strong plant per pot using a scissors. After hardening off transplants outdoors, space plants the same distance apart as for sowing seeds-2 to 3 plants per hill or 12 inches apart in rows. The roots of the seedlings are very delicate, so try to leave the soil intact and undisturbed when transplanting.


Containers: Honeydews need lots of garden space to sprawl, but bush, dwarf, or mini-varieties can be grown in containers. Choose containers that are at least 18 inches deep and plant 2 to 3 seedlings against a trellis. As the vines grow, train them up the trellis using soft plant ties. Suspend slings made from netting or pantyhose from the trellis to cradle the fruits as they grow.

Care and Feeding

Watering: Melon plants are not drought tolerant and require a steady supply of water throughout the growing season. The soil should be kept evenly moist-but never soggy-as overwatering can negatively affect the flavor of the fruit. Avoid watering overhead, which can encourage the spread of fungal diseases. Unless the soil becomes very dry, back off on watering during the final 2 weeks of the ripening stage to give the fruits a sweeter flavor.


Feeding: If your soil is rich in nutrients, you may not need to feed the plants while they’re growing. If your soil is poor to average, or you just want to speed up production, give the plants a ½ strength balanced liquid organic fertilizer every three weeks once the plants become established.

Weeding: Do not cultivate the soil around plants to avoid injuring roots near the surface. It’s best to remove weeds before the plants start to vine, and then apply a generous layer of mulch to help keep them under control. You should also try to avoid walking on the vines, which are prone to being crushed.

Protecting Fruits: During extended periods of hot weather, fruits exposed to the sun may suffer from sun scald. To help prevent this, drape the vines over the fruits to shade them with the large leaves. As an alternative, cover the fruits with small cardboard boxes. You can protect ripening fruits from animals by covering them with plastic milk crates.


Mulching: Adding mulch around young melon plants is a good idea for several reasons. Mulch conserves moisture, keeps soil temperatures warm, suppresses weeds, and it keeps fruits clean and less prone to disease. In cooler climates, black-plastic sheeting makes good mulch. Lay down several sheets of it a few weeks before planting time to warm up the soil, and then make slits in it when it’s time to sow your seeds or set in your transplants. If soil warmth is not an issue where you live, use any good organic mulch like straw, grass clippings, or chopped leaves.

Directing growth: If you want to grow larger sized melons, or speed up production, remove all but 2 to 4 melons from each vine closest to the roots. After mid-summer, remove any developing blossoms and small fruits that you don’t think will ripen within 50 days of your first frost; this will encourage the vine to direct all of its energy into the fruits that are left. Don’t pinch off the tips of the vines. The plant will need all of its leaves to produce the sugars that sweeten the melons.

Pests and Diseases

Insects that attack honeydew melons also attack other members of the cucurbit family (cucumber, squash, and melons). The most common are the cucumber beetle and the squash vine borer. Aphids can also quickly take over a vine, so inspect the undersides of leaves frequently. Honeydews are also susceptible to fungal diseases such as Fusariam wilt and powdery mildew. When shopping for seeds or seedlings, look for disease resistant varieties.

To reduce the probability of insects and disease, use good cultivation practices. Rotate crops and avoid watering from overhead. Keep developing fruits clean and off the ground using mulch, or by propping them up on inverted coffee cans. Keep the garden free of unnecessary plant debris, encourage air circulation around plants, and use floating row covers to exclude insects while trapping warm air.

Harvesting Tips

Melons will not ripen much off the vine, so it is important to know just when to pick them. For most varieties, that is somewhere between 75 to 100 days after being planted from seed. As soon as one melon starts to ripen, the rest will ripen in short order one right after the other. The nice part about this is that you will quickly learn how to spot a perfectly ripe melon.

  • Look: When ripe, the skins will be creamy yellow in color with a smooth and waxy (not hairy) texture.
  • Listen: Give fruits a couple of gentle thumps. If you hear a deep, dense sound that is good. That means it’s ripe. A hollow rattle can mean insufficient moisture.
  • Smell: At room temperature, the fruits will have a strong, sweet aroma-especially at the blossom end, which softens when ripe.
  • Unlike most melons, honeydews do not usually slip off the vine easily and must be cut away from the vine.

Growing Melons

Call them cantaloupes or muskmelons, these sweet treats are a summer favorite. Their fragrant orange fruit make them the most commonly grown – and eaten – melons.

Honeydews ripen more slowly and are available later in the season compared to muskmelons. They have a smooth rind, subtler taste and are less aromatic. Honeydews have a greenish-white rind and light green fruit.

As members of the gourd family, melons can be slightly larger than a baseball or grow to more than 15-pounds. Rind color varies from pale white to dark green. The fruit can be pale yellow, light green or bright orange. Seeds fill the hollow centers.

Try planting both cantaloupes and honeydews this year. They’re easy to grow and are planted the same way. The difference comes at harvest.

Planting seeds and starts

Melons do best in warm weather. The soil needs to be warm and dry, so plant them after the danger of frost has passed.

Some gardeners plant cantaloupes and honeydews through holes in a landscape fabric or black plastic. The material traps heat and warms the soil to encourage growth at the beginning of the season. The fabric also keeps vines clean and deters weeds.

In areas where a chill lingers, start the seeds indoors three to four weeks before transplanting them outdoors. Use individual peat containers to avoid disturbing the roots.

Plant melon seeds in six- to 12-inch mounds of soil. Sow three to five seeds two inches apart and about one inch deep. Space the mounds two feet apart in rows that are five feet apart.

When the seedlings sprout leaves, thin them to 18- to 24-inches apart. Melon vines take up a lot of space and the distance allows air to circulate freely.

Apply an all-purpose fertilizer every two to three weeks. Cantaloupes and honeydews benefit from slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. Each month, add a few inches of compost to the root areas.

The vines require a lot of water, so give them up to two inches of water each week. Trickle irrigation at the soil level is best. Water the melons in the morning, so the leaves are dry by evening. That helps to prevent fungal diseases.

While both male and female flowers grow on the same melon vine, bees are necessary for pollination and subsequent fruiting. The first blooms are the male flowers. They can’t set fruit and will fall off. The female flowers appear a short time later. After bees pollinate them, the small bulb at bloom’s base will develop into the melon.

If space is limited, cantaloupes and honeydews can be trained to grow up a trellis or fence. Use soft ties to secure them. Shortly after the melons start to develop, support them with mesh bags tied to the trellis. Otherwise, their weight could strain or pull the vine down.

Keep the maturing melons from touching the ground. Propping them up on mulch piles, flower pots or other similar items helps prevent rotting and pests.

Harvest time

Most melons ripen in late summer or early- to mid-fall. It’s typical to get two to three melons per vine. Their sweetness largely is determined during the three weeks leading up to harvest. Water them less during that time, as it’s the drier conditions that promote sweetness.

Cantaloupes are fragrant when they’re ready to pick. The stem will separate, or slip, easily from the fruit. The green netted rind turns to tan-yellow. Sugar development comes from adequate ripening time on the vines. Don’t pick them too soon. Sugars are stored in muskmelons until the stem separates. Once picked, they soften but don’t sweeten further.

Pick honeydews when the rind turns a cream color. The blossom end will be slightly soft. Honeydews won’t slip from the vine, so cut them off. Once picked, they’ll ripen for several days at room temperature.

Harvest both honeydews and muskmelons in the morning after the dew has dried. Pick them every other day at the beginning of harvest and every day during peak season. Otherwise, some of the sweet crop likely will be enjoyed by wildlife and insects.

Honeydew How-To!

There are actually many ways to cut and eat a honeydew melon. After rinsing well to remove dirt or other residue that may be on the rind, the melon can be cut widthwise or lengthwise and left in halves or cut into quarters—the main thing is to scoop the seeds out.

Typically, honeydews (and other members of the muskmelon group, such as cantaloupe and Crenshaw melons) are sliced in half with a sharp knife, and the seeds and pulp at the center are scooped out with a spoon, making sure not to take any of the adjacent tender, sweet flesh. The melon may then be served as-is in halves or cut into quarters or eighths so that the flesh is spooned directly out of the rind (or removed with a melon-baller for fruit salad). Honeydew quarters or eighths may also be cut from the rind and sliced into bite-sized pieces for serving.

Before cutting, however, you’ll want to make sure your melon is ripe! The best indicator of ripeness is aroma. If the honeydew’s sweet, lightly floral fragrance is noticeable, it’s probably ready to cut and eat. The outside of the melon should feel firm but give slightly to pressure, particularly on the end where the stem was. If it feels rock-hard, give it a little more time.

Aside from being delicious, honeydew melon is a great source of vitamin C. One cup of diced melon (about an eighth of an average-sized honeydew) contains more than 50 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C! It’s also a good source of folate and potassium.

Want farm-fresh fruit?

We’ve got you covered.

Food Storage – How long can you keep…


  • How long does honeydew melon last? The precise answer to that question depends to a large extent on storage conditions – after purchasing, keep honeydew melon in a cool, dry area.
  • How long does honeydew melon last at room temperature? Honeydew melon will generally keep well at room temperature for about 2 to 4 days.
  • To extend the shelf life of honeydew melon, refrigerate.
  • How long does honeydew melon last in the fridge? Properly stored, honeydew melon will usually keep well for about 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator.
  • Can you freeze honeydew melon? Yes, to freeze: (1) Cut honeydew melon melon in half and remove seeds and rind; (2) Slice or cube melon, or cut into balls; (3) Place in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
  • How long does honeydew melon last in the freezer? Properly stored, it will maintain best quality for about 10 to 12 months, but will remain safe beyond that time.
  • The freezer time shown is for best quality only – honeydew melon that has been kept constantly frozen at 0°F will keep safe indefinitely.
  • How to tell if honeydew melon is bad or spoiled? The best way is to smell and look at the honeydew melon: if honeydew melon develops an off odor, flavor or appearance, it should be discarded; if mold appears, discard all of the honeydew melon.

Sources: For details about data sources used for food storage information, please

Chat Leftovers: How long to store melons

What’s more fun than bubbles? Especially if they’re chewy and sitting in a drink. Intrepid reporter Tim Carman recently set out to learn how to make his own bubble tea, and you can follow his progress — or lack thereof — right here.

Also this week, meet the man whose “world’s best” lasagna recipe is the perennial chart-topper on, with millions of views since it was first posted 12 years ago. Caitlin Dewey has the story. And Emily C. Horton introduces you to whole-diet CSAs: Instead of a basket of vegetables, these farms give you meat, dairy products, fruit, flours — almost enough to keep you out of the supermarket for good.

Digest all that, and then join us for today’s Free Range chat. You know the drill: Show up here at noon, bring your questions and settle in for a fun hour of give-and-take. Then next week, watch for another Chat Leftover. There’s bound to be one, because time has this annoying habit of running out. For example, here’s a leftover from last week’s chat:

I just read that you can puree extra melon (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, etc.) to freeze for future use. My question is, how long is melon “safe” in the fridge before I puree it? Is a week-old cantaloupe risky?

If it looks fresh enough to eat — not soft, mush, watery or slimy — then it should be good to puree and freeze. But how long can you keep it before it reaches the yucky point of no return? That depends a lot on whether you’ve cut it up or not.

A whole, uncut cantaloupe or honeydew melon should last for seven to 10 days in the refrigerator. A whole, uncut watermelon is even sturdier: It should be good for two weeks.

The picture gets somewhat bleaker once you’ve sliced into your fruit. The shelf life for the cantaloupe or honeydew shrinks to a mere three to four days, and so, interestingly, does the shelf life for the watermelon.

The National Watermelon Promotion Board, by the way, says the fridge is not the best place for a watermelon until you cut into it. The scoop: “Researchers have found that whole watermelons stored outside the fridge in a cool, dark place (around 55 or 60 degrees) last much longer than watermelons stored in the fridge (around 41 degrees). So, if you’ve already got a whole watermelon in the fridge, you should keep it there. But if you’re storing it outside the fridge, put it in the fridge about three hours before you plan to eat it in order to cool it down to just the right temperature.”


Honeydew melon is high in vitamin C and low in calories. It’s the perfect choice when you want a quick and easy, sweet treat. It’s also a great addition to yogurt, smoothies, fruit trays, salads, and many other recipes (keep reading for great ideas on how to serve honeydew). Most people think of honeydew only in the summer, but you can usually find this delicious melon year-round at your grocery store.

How To Select

  • Choose a honeydew that is spherical, mostly symmetrical, and heavy for its size.
  • The outside of the honeydew melon should be waxy with cream, yellow, or gold tones. Green coloring indicates that the honeydew is not ripe.
  • Sniff the melon. It should give off a sweet, pleasant odor.

*BONUS TIP: For an extra sweet honeydew melon, look for one with small brown freckles on the outside rind.

How to Store

  • Store whole honeydew melons at room temperature.
  • Once cut, store honeydew in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 weeks.

How to Serve

  • Honeydew melon is a great snack to have by itself.
  • Add honeydew to yogurt or fruit parfaits.
  • Add honeydew to fruit smoothies.
  • Honeydew melon is a great addition to any fruit tray.

Here are some honeydew melon recipes you’re bound to love!

Honeydew Bubble Tea by Munchin with Munchkin

Honeydew Melon Monster Tray

Cucumber-Honeydew Salad with Feta by Rikki Snyder

Honeydew Bellini by Laylita’s Recipes

Honeydew and Berries Yogurt Popsicles by Mommyhood’s Diary

For even more honeydew melon recipes, follow The Produce Mom’s Honeydew Pinterest board. Enjoy!

Honeydew Melon Ripening

The maturity of honeydew melons at time of harvest is critical to the eating quality, as the sugar content of honeydew does not significantly increase after harvest. Conditioning or ripening these melons with ethylene will not make them sweeter; however there are benefits to ethylene exposure, including improved aroma, color and softening.
The degree of maturity will indicate whether the melon should be exposed to ethylene. Melons which are fully mature at harvest (with white surfaces, hard to springy blossom ends, skin with very little wax or fuzz) should not be treated with ethylene if they are to be stored for an extended period of time. Melons of minimum commercial maturity (well filled-out, have a white color with a greenish tint, blossom ends that are hard to firm, have no aroma and a skin that is not waxy but is slightly fuzzy) will benefit from a treatment of ethylene.
To begin ripening, bring honeydew pulp temperature to 68 – 77°F (20 – 25°C). Apply 100 ppm ethylene for 24-48 hours during the initial phase of the ripening cycle.
Carbon dioxide will build up during ripening. If no automatic ventilation system is in place, then be sure to vent the room approximately every 12 hours by opening the doors for 20 minutes even while applying ethylene. The actual CO2 level must be kept below 1% for proper ripening.
Maintain humidity at 90% to prevent shrinkage during ripening.
Once melons lose most of their greenish tint, have no noticeable peel fuzz and emit an aroma, they are producing their own ethylene and no longer need external ethylene.
Melon storage temperature is dictated by the degree of ripeness:

  • Unripe: 45 – 50°F (7.5 – 10°C)

  • Slightly ripe: 41 – 45°F (5 – 7.5°C)

  • Ripe: 36 – 41°F (2.5 – 5°C).

Note that storing less ripe fruits below 41°F (5°C) may result in chilling injury. If unsure about the degree of ripeness, store melons at the warmer temperature ranges to avoid chill damage.

Some of these recommendations are adapted from:

Cantwell, M. Fruit Ripening & Ethylene Management: Optimum Procedures for Ripening Melons.

This book is a great resource for any Fruit Ripener and can be ordered here.

For more information on Mangoes and other fruits, please visit the

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *