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Cantaloupe or Honeydew – how do you decide which to purchase at the farmers market
or roadside stand?
Let’s start out by learning what they each are.
Honeydew melon and cantaloupe are two members of the same species, Cucumis melo. Although they are closely related, they’re two different fruits. They are both sweet,
but their appearance is different. Honeydew has a smooth, light-colored rind and green
flesh, while cantaloupe has a darker, netted rind and orange flesh.
They both share similar nutritional benefits except for vitamin C and beta-carotene. Cantaloupe contains twice the amount of vitamin C as does honeydew, 61% DV versus
30% DV in honeydew. In vitamin A, Cantaloupe wins again with 68% DV compared to 1%
DV in honeydew. Both are based on a 3.5 ounce serving. If it is beta carotene you
are wanting, cantaloupe is the melon you want.
They both have 90% water content and the same number of calories per bite, as well
as similar amounts of fiber and phenol phytonutrients and similar trace amounts of
B vitamins and minerals.These melons are loved for their juiciness and sweet flavor. They add color and firm
texture to fruit salads and make a beautiful addition to a fruit platter. Since they
have similar taste and texture, they can be used interchangeably in most recipes.
There is a taste difference in the two. Honeydew melon is slightly sweeter with a
firm, green flesh, while cantaloupe has softer, orange flesh.
Select fragrant, symmetrical cantaloupes, heavy for their size with no visible bruises
and a yellow or cream undertone. The stem end should give to gentle pressure. Honeydew
should be well shaped and nearly spherical. They should have a waxy, not fuzzy surface
and feel heavy for their size.
When it is time to eat your melon, care should be taken to reduce the risk of unwanted
bacteria entering the melon, especially on the cantaloupe who has a rough netting,
a great place for bacteria to grow. Wash your hands and all utensils before and after
cutting. Rinse the whole melon under cool running water; gently scrub the rind with
a natural bristle brush, and then pat dry before slicing. This rinsing process will
help remove unwanted bacterial contamination.
They both should be stored uncut at room temperature for up to 1 week. Once cut they must be refrigerated in an airtight container. Cantaloupe will last for up to 5 days, while honeydew melons will last up to 2 weeks
in the refrigerator once cut.
Melons do not continue to ripen, or get sweeter once picked, yet they will soften
To ripen, place the fruit in a brown paper bag rolled closed at the top to help the
melon ripen faster for eating. Let sit for two to three days until they feel springy
under slight pressure. Don’t forget to check for over ripeness. A softening of the
entire rind and soft watery flesh shows this. Small bruises will not hurt the flesh,
but large bruised areas should be avoided, since they generally cause soft, water-soaked
areas underneath the rind.
You can purchase melons from the store or farmer's markets that are tasty during the
summer. Just let your nose do the work for you and you should have a sweet treat for
a hot summer day.
Honey Dew and Cantaloupe add color to this Summer Melon Fruit Salad. It is the perfect
addition to whatever meal you are grilling outside. Substitute or add any fresh fruit
In a salad bowl, whisk together the lemon yogurt, honey, and lemon juice until smooth.
Set in refrigerator to meld flavors. Arrange fruit in serving container. Before serving,
gently fold in the fruit. Toss to coat and serve.
99 calories; 3 g protein; 22 g carbohydrates; 38 mg sodium.
By Carla Duecdue@uada.edu