Watermelon and cantaloupes are well-known melons in the melon family. Honeydew is not as popular as the other melons. When you mention honeydew to some people, they refer to the excretion from tiny insects known as Aphids. Honeydew is a melon, it exists and it is dubbed as the temptation melon.
Honeydew melon is great when you are familiar with it, the trick about it is telling whether it is ripe or not. Unlike other melons, the fragrance doesn’t increase when it ripens, so it can be hard to tell when they are ripe. Honeydew stops getting ripe as soon as you cut it from the vine, it will only get softer.
What does honeydew taste like? Honeydew tastes a lot like cantaloupes, but it is much sweeter and doesn’t have the musky aftertaste that cantaloupes do. Honeydew has a lighter flavor, the texture differs depending on how ripe the fruit is. A ripe honeydew will have a rough texture on the outside but will be soft and juicy on the inside. An unripe honeydew will be very hard and slick.
Many people do refer to the taste of honeydew as bland, this is because they are eating unripe or overripe fruit. When purchasing honeydew, it is important to buy ripe ones so you can enjoy the true taste of the fruit.
Nutritional Benefits of Honeydew
Honeydew is rich in nutrients, it has a nutrient profile that is quite different from other melons. It plays host to minerals and plant compounds that contribute to the overall well-being of the body.
In a 1 cup serving of honeydew, you have 64 calories, 16 grams of carbs; so you don’t have to worry about your waistline. Honeydew has a good stock of vitamin C and a cup provides about 53 percent of the reference daily intake (RDI). There are no fats in honeydew, but you have significant amounts of fiber and protein. You also have vitamins K, B6, and folate plus minerals like potassium and magnesium.
Honeydew contains certain plant compounds like beta-carotene, caffeic acid, phytoene, and quercetin. These compounds might have strong antioxidant properties and help to relieve oxidative stress in the body. By relieving oxidative stress, they protect cells in the body from damage by free radicals.
It is a well-known fact that having a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a great way of keeping heart diseases and risk of high blood pressure away. A cup of honeydew can give up to 12 percent of the recommended daily intake for potassium; which has a positive influence on blood pressure regulation. Honeydew has low sodium levels so people trying to control their sodium intake are not at risk.
Folate, magnesium, and vitamin K are all present in any serving of honeydew, these minerals serve to help maintain strong bones in the body. Folate breaks down homocysteine; which has been linked to reduced bone mineral density. Vitamin K helps in the production of osteocalcin; which is a major structural protein in bones. Honeydew is also rich in electrolytes and water, it can serve as a great way to hydrate after heavy physical activity.
Culinary Uses of Honeydew
Just like watermelon, honeydew can be eaten on its own. Before we go on to tell you how you can integrate it into more complex dishes, there are other ways you can enjoy it.
You should try frozen honeydew cubes. With the addition of a little sugar and lime, you can puree honeydew and freeze it in ice cube trays. Ice cube honeydew can be added to drinks, cocktails, smoothies, and any juice of your choice. With the ice cube honeydew, you can bring that honeydew flavor into your drinks. You can also make a slushy with honeydew and drink it.
Honeydew has a green color that makes it perfect in green salads. Unlike other melons, honeydew is referred to as ugly because it lacks color. In green salads, honeydew gives sensational sweet bursts of flavor. Talking about salads, honeydew can be mixed with other melons; cantaloupes, and watermelon with the addition of spice, shavings of ginger root, and drizzled with maple syrup to make a melon salad.
Honeydew can also be used to make fresh salsa that pairs very well with seafood. To make melon salsa, you will mix honeydew with freshly chopped red onions, a serving of lime, and fresh cilantro. Honeydew can also be integrated into fruit kebabs and pyramids.
Where is Honeydew Grown and How Do You Procure It?
Honeydew is one of the main cultivars from the Cucumis melo Inodorus group, the other main cultivar in that group is the casaba melon. The flesh of the honeydew is usually pale green in color, while the skin ranges from a greenish to a yellowish hue depending on the level of maturity of the fruit.
Honeydew grows best in semiarid climates, instead of being harvested based on size, it is harvested based on how mature they are at the time of harvest.
For many years honeydew has been grown in the southern region of France, Spain, and Algeria. It was introduced to China in the 1940s by the Secretary of Agriculture at that time Henry A. Wallace. Wallace was Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt and he founded a major seed company known as Pioneer Hi-Bred; which popularized the use of hybridized corn. In China, honeydew is sometimes called the Wallace.
Honeydew is usually in season from August to October but can be found in grocery stores around the country in the same section where you will find cantaloupes and other melons.
Which is Better: Honeydew or Cantaloupe?
Cantaloupe has orange-colored flesh, it is not as sweet as the honeydew, but it can add color and life to dishes that it is integrated into. When compared to cantaloupe, honeydew is slightly sweet and has a firmer texture. However, cantaloupe might be the more nutritious of the two because it has higher levels of vitamins C and A.
Facts You Don’t Know About Honeydew
- Honeydew can be frozen, but due to its high water content, it becomes mushy after thawing. If you freeze honeydew, it is best to eat it while it is still frozen.
- Honeydew contains lutein and zeaxanthin; two antioxidants that support healthy eyes and improve vision.