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Produce Pointers – Melons

The taste and fragrance of a cool, juicy slice of fresh melon in the summer just can’t be beat.  Melons have been a favorite fruit for many centuries.  They appear in Egyptian tomb paintings dated to 2400 B.C., and they are mentioned in the writings of the early Greeks and Romans.  Mark Twain called watermelon “the food that angels eat.”

Uses & Preparation

Watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe are excellent cut up in salads, as a dessert, or alone as a cool, refreshing snack anytime. To save space and cooling time in the refrigerator, cut up the melon and cover tightly with plastic wrap.

UF/IFAS Photo

Selection

Thumping watermelon to judge ripeness is not always accurate, because you can’t tell if it is ripe or overripe. Instead, look for a well-proportioned melon with full ends, a dull outer skin, and the bottom a yellowish color, or turning from white to pale green.

Cantaloupe should have no sign of a stem, be nicely rounded, and the netting should be evenly distributed. Golden-colored melons with a mild melon odor are the peak of ripeness, while green ones will ripen in a few days if kept at room temperature.

A ripe honeydew melon has a creamy yellow rind that is soft and velvety. The best – tasting honeydew smells slightly fruity. Hold a honeydew at room temperature for a few days for even tastier fruit.

Melon Salad

Arrange balls or slices of watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew melon, alone or in combination, on lettuce.  Serve with French dressing. Diced apples, diced pears, nuts, and chopped celery may be added for variety.

Chicken & Watermelon Salad

5 chicken breast, boned, skinned, cooked and cubed

3 cups watermelon, cubed

3 cups pears, cored and cubed

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms

1/2 pint low-calorie Italian dressing

Combine all ingredients, toss gently. Refrigerate on hour, stirring occasionally. Serve on a bed of lettuce.

Nutrition Information

Low in sodium.  Low in calories. Good source of vitamin A.

Available Fresh

June – August

To learn about fresh Florida melons, please read our fact sheet: Panhandle Produce Pointers – Melons

For more delicious produce preparation tips, please visit: http://www.panhandleproducepointers.com.