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So, you want to know how to tell if a honeydew melon is ripe, do you? Well, I don’t blame you. After all, there are few things better than a juicy honeydew, but an unripe one leaves a lot to be desired.
How to tell if a honeydew is ripe
Farmers have to be careful when harvesting honeydew melons from the vine as this particular fruit will not ripen if it is picked too early. An immature honeydew melon will remain hard, bland, and, frankly, inedible, so it’s vital they are picked once they’ve moved over to maturity.
The confusion between mature and immature melons comes about because mature honeydews can still be unripe. The difference is that a mature honeydew will begin to ripen if left to do its thing on your kitchen counter, whereas an immature one will never turn into the soft, luscious, juicy, tender fruit we all know and love.
A nice ripe honeydew melon will give off certain clues, and these are what you are going to be looking out for before you take your knife out of its block and begin slicing open your delicious ball of goodness:
When a honeydew melon is ripe and ready to eat it will have a sweet scent which simply screams out EAT ME! The longer the melon is left to ripen, the stronger the fruit’s fragrance becomes.
Your melon should have next to no greenness once it has fully ripened, so keep an eye out for any green veins running across the rind (the outer skin of the fruit). A ripe honeydew will have lost its green tinge and moved over to a nice whitish yellow or golden hue.
Yes! Listen to your melons, people.
As you probably know, honeydew melons have an abundance of seeds inside them and these begin to work their way loose from the flesh as the melon ripens.
What has this got to do with your ears? Well, if you give a ripe melon a quick shake you’ll hear a faint rattling sound from within. Try it. It’s a cool trick.
Another audio clue can be found when you drum a melon with your fingers. The resulting sound should be somewhat of a deep, dull thud if your honeydew is ready to eat.
Time to get touchy. When working out how to tell if a honeydew is ripe, this is often the first thing you’ll hear people talk about, and yet many people get it wrong.
The key is to gently press the opposite end to where the stem was, commonly referred to as the blossom end in gardening circles. With a honeydew melon, ripe fruits will yield a little and then bounce straight back.
The “give” you’re after is not too hard, not too soft. Think of Goldilocks when you’re pressing!
Nicely ripened honeydews will also have a different feel to them than unripened melons. Run your fingers across the rind of a perfectly ripened fruit and you’ll feel fine ridges in the skin, whereas less ripe honeydews will be smoother.
Tips for buying honeydew melons
While all of the above is great when you have your melons at home and ready to go, what about when you are in the store and confronted with an almighty pile of melons. Which one do you pick?
Selecting a ripe honeydew melon is great if you’re going to eat it that day, but what about if you are planning on waiting a while? Well, as I’ve already mentioned, the key thing to avoid is an immature fruit. Providing the melon is mature, you can always ripen a honeydew melon at home.
You can do all of the above tips in store to select the ripest, juiciest melons, but there are some other things to look out for as well when you’re buying a honeydew from a store or down at your local farmers market:
A good honeydew melon will almost feel too heavy for its size when you pick it up. Why? Because of all that glorious juice held within, that’s why! Selecting a nice heavy honeydew will ensure you get a lip-smackingly juicy fruit.
A mature honeydew will appear round and symmetrical when you look at it, with no weird lumps and bumps. Again, it’s a good idea to avoid greener fruits too.
While the stem will likely have been removed from the fruit before it hit the supermarket shelves, looking at this part of the fruit can determine whether it was nicely matured on the vine or not.
What you are looking for is a subtle dip around where the stem once was. Any remnants of the stem should be well hardened, dry, and free from any signs of mold.
Wondering how to ripen honeydew melon after cutting?
Sit yourself down, I have some bad news for you.
If you’ve been a little eager and cut into your honeydew too early, there isn’t much you can do to ripen it, unfortunately. However, all is not completely lost.
Instead of wasting your unripe honeydew melon, try adding it to your daily green smoothie. Unripe melons are hard and pretty tasteless, but your blender will whizz them up and the other ingredients will mask the blandness.
While it’s a poor substitute for a deliciously ripe honeydew, it’s a much better option than throwing it in the trash.
However, if you’re melon is actually immature (rather than simply unripe) and therefore has no chance of ever ripening, take it back to the store and complain. Immature fruits do sometimes escape quality control, but the more we stand up for ourselves the greater the chance this will be improved upon.
That’s it! Now you should be able to easily tell the difference between an unripe and a ripe honeydew melon. All that remains now is to slice one up and get stuck in.