The Skinny on... Melon
Pinks, oranges, creams and greens — here's what you need to know about choosing, storing, prepping and enjoying these gorgeous summer fruits.
CanaryAlso known as Juan Canary, canary melons are large and football-shaped, with a vibrant yellow rind. Cut into one, and its pale-green, relatively mild flesh may surprise you. Choose a canary melon carefully (it should have a perfumy, sweet aroma), as they have very little flavor when underripe.
CasabaOne of the few melons that will ripen at room temperature, casabas look nothing like cantaloupes or honeydews — their rind is pale yellow and deeply furrowed. Inside, their flesh is creamy white. Casabas aren’t as aromatic as other melons, so to judge ripeness, press gently at the stem end; if it gives a bit, it’s ripe. In terms of flavor, it’s surprisingly cucumber-like.
CrenshawAlso called Cranshaw, this large melon is a cross between a casaba and a Persian melon. The result is exceptionally sweet and almost spicy, with a greenish-yellow rind and lovely salmon-colored flesh.
GaliaIf it looks like a golden cantaloupe on the outside and a honeydew on the inside, chances are your melon is a galia. It’s often called a dessert melon thanks to its honeyed, juicy sweetness.
OgenNamed for the kibbutz in Israel where it was popularized, the small, round ogen is almost outrageously sweet and fragrant. The rind starts out dark green and turns golden as it ripens, with deep-green furrows running from pole to pole. Some varieties have netting like a cantaloupe, while others are smooth.
PersianIs that cantaloupe oblong, larger than usual, with delicate netting and aromatic, rosy-orange flesh? Then it’s probably a Persian. Rind that’s green beneath the netting indicates an underripe melon — it turns almost golden as it sweetens.
SharlynThese beauties are relatively large and oblong, with beige-gold skin beneath a mosaic-like netting. Its sweet, cream-colored flesh tastes like a cantaloupe-honeydew combo. Sharlyns are quite perishable, so refrigerate them even before cutting, and eat within a few days.
Since most of us are already familiar with watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew, we wanted to show off some of the lesser-known (and highly delicious) melons often available at the market. Here are a few of our favorites: