This week kicks off Melon Mania, an annual campaign focused solely on all those delicious melons grown by our local farmers. Not only are melons naturally sweet and delicious to eat, but they’re also packed full of nutrition. For all my melon maniacs out there, here’s some tips and tricks for picking the best melon, as well as some delicious recipes to enjoy with your fresh picks.
First, let’s touch on how local these melons are. We’re currently getting our local seedless watermelon and cantaloupe from Stirling Farms. David Stirling and his family are 5th generation produce farmers located in Leeds, Utah. Harmons has partnered with Stirling Farms for the last 25 years and proudly offers their produce at all our locations.
Need a refresher on how to choose the best melon? A few tips apply to all melons, regardless of the variety, including choosing melons that are heavy for their size. If the melon appears heavy for its size, it means there’s a smaller cavity on the inside so there’s more melon and water present, giving you a juicier fruit. Here are a few additional tips to help ensure you’re picking the most delicious melon for you and your family.
Look for a large creamy-yellow spot on the watermelon rind as that shows the watermelon was resting on the ground and ripened on the vine prior to being picked. Watermelons have a thicker skin, so they won’t be fragrant when ripe like other melons are.
Mini watermelons are generally sweeter than larger ones, but both have a crispy, juicy texture you’re sure to enjoy.
Look for honeydews that are closer to pale-yellow rather than bright green. The blossom end should feel slightly springy when you press on it.
Honeydews are less fragrant than other melons but can be equally as sweet.
Choose melons with a bright yellow skin. The blossom end will give slightly when ripe and the melon should smell fragrant.
Casaba melons aren’t as sweet as other melons, and their taste is often compared to Asian pears and cucumbers. They have a slight spicy taste to them that makes them perfect for salsa.
Choose melons that have a rich, golden-pink flesh and a golden, waxy textured skin. You should be able to smell a rich melon aroma once the melon is at peak ripeness.
Crenshaw melons have a flavor that’s similar to a cantaloupe. They’re a bit sweeter and have a slightly floral flavor to them.
Look for symmetrical cantaloupes with yellow or cream undertones. The stem end should give to gentle pressure.
Cantaloupes have a juicy, sweet flesh and pairs very well with thinly sliced meats, like prosciutto.
Choose oblong melons with netted yellow skin and small streaks of dark green. It should give slightly when lightly pressed on the sides and stem end.
Hami melons are crisp, sweet, juicy melons with a floral aroma. They’re similar to cantaloupe but have a sweeter, crisper flesh.
Look for netting that is nice and tight all around the melon. Make sure the vine end is free of any holes.
Lemon drop melons start off sweet, like honeydews or watermelon, and are then followed by a tart taste similar to lemons.
Ripe melons will have a bright yellow hue and a soft blossom end that yields to gentle pressure. Since Santa Claus melons have a thicker skin, so they won’t be fragrant when ripe like other melons are.
Santa Claus melons are sweet and fragrant with a bit of an earthy undertone to them.
Look for melons that are bright yellow with a corrugated look. The melon should have a slightly waxy feel to the skin.
Juan canary melons have a sweet, tangy flavor with tropical fruit aromas.
Our produce departments are always cutting up melons fresh in-store, so check out our chef-cut produce wall to see how the melons are cutting that week. Remember that you’re always welcome to sample products within our stores, so feel free to ask for a bite of a melon you haven’t tried before.
Need a few recipes to use up all your Melon Mania finds? Check out some of our favorites below!
- Watermelon Rind Coleslaw – A delicious way to use up all parts of your watermelon!
- Summer Berry and Watermelon Gazpacho – A refreshingly cold summer soup.
- Watermelon Cucumber Cooler – This recipe can easily be adapted to a mocktail by removing gin for a fancy summer beverage.
If you’d like any additional tips for seasonal produce, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.