The Telltale Signs Your Honeydew Melon Is Ripe

Honeydew is often the wallflower of the melon homecoming dance. It's overlooked in favor of its more intensely flavored cousins, watermelon and cantaloupe. Honeydew's beauty is in its subtle sweetness — there's a good reason it's named for "honey" and "dew." If your melon is flavorless, you've probably chosen one that's not ripe. When choosing a honeydew melon, look it over, check for blemishes, and ensure there's an even yellowish color to the rind. Next, feel the end of the honeydew opposite the stem. A ripe honeydew should have a little bit of give. You know the expression, "Don't knock it till you try it?" With honeydew, don't try it till you knock it. Give the melon a knock, and listen for a hollow sound. 

The best way to store honeydew melon is in the refrigerator, where it can stay fresh for up to two weeks — just don't forget it's there. The fridge keeps it nice and cold, but it's easy to overlook. Fresh fruit is always more enjoyable if you use it quickly. Once you've cut your honeydew, time is of the essence. You only have a couple of days to consume it before it goes bad. An uncut melon can be stored loose, but cut melon should be covered well in cling wrap or stored in an airtight container. Note that melon won't freeze well if you intend to thaw it (it gets mushy), but if you keep it frozen, it's super for slushies and smoothies. 

How to use up ripe honeydew melon

If you've got ripe honeydew that's yearning to be used, there are plenty of ways to put it to good use. Of course, the best way to eat ripe honeydew is plain and simple, cut it into slices and cubes (with a bit of salt, if you like). Have some with your breakfast to get a jumpstart on your five-a-day. Tossing honeydew into a fruit salad is always an option, but you can make it into a more delicious treat by adding sugar and mint and making a light, fresh sorbet. You don't have to eat your honeydew to enjoy it, because it works spectacularly in beverages, too. Add a few cubes of cool, ripe honeydew and some mint sprigs to infuse your water, or puree some into a refreshing smoothie. There are lots of ways you can combine spirits and melon for summer honeydew cocktails

For those who like things on the savory side, honeydew is often overlooked as a green salad fruit. Instead of berries, try ripe honeydew in a spinach salad. Hunks of honeydew are a cool, sweet complement to cucumbers, thinly sliced onions, and a creamy yogurt dressing. Prosciutto-wrapped honeydew cubes or slices are a good appetizer for a cookout, needing very little prep. The combination of sweet and salty is always a hit, and the fresh evokes the fresh, sunny vibe of summer. Turn your honeydew into a salsa to top fish or shrimp tacos for a truly awe-inspiring dish.