Honeydew is a cultivar of muskmelon, closely related to cantaloupe. The flesh of honeydew is typically pale green and the skin can range from green to yellow. Unlike the cantaloupe, honeydew has very smooth skin when fully ripe, although they may be somewhat fuzzy when unripe. There is no consensus, but honeydew, and all other melons, probably originated in either Africa or Southeast Asia. Melons were one of the first fruits cultivated by humans, their use is widespread across the world and multitudes of varieties exist. By the time of the Roman Empire, melons were prevalent throughout much of Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the southern reaches of Western Europe. In France, there emerged a cultivar of muskmelon called the White Antibes, which was dubbed Honeydew in North America. After watermelon and cantaloupe, honeydew is the most popular melon in North America.
Like most melons, honeydews are often eaten raw, either sliced or cubed. Cubes or balls of honeydew are no stranger to fruit salads, but don’t be afraid to add fresh honeydew to a green salad. Arugula goes especially well with honeydew. Stick cubes to grilled skewers for a great summertime side dish. Include honeydew juice in a handmade ice cream recipe for a sweet kick. Refreshing summer drinks can include honeydew. Try including fresh honeydew in an agua fresca recipe, or just about any smoothie. For something a little stronger, try including fresh honeydew in sangria, or use fresh honeydew juice in margaritas for a sweet twist on a classic. Fresh melon wrapped in prosciutto is a tasty, light appetizer to serve before a summertime dinner.
Select honeydew with unbroken, firm skin. A fresh, ripe honeydew feels heavy for its size, which indicates that it is full of moisture. The skin of good honeydews often appears freckled, which indicates that the melon is chock full of sugar. Fresh, ripe honeydew should feel waxy to the touch, not fuzzy. Store melons uncut and whole at room temperature. Cut honeydew can be kept in the fridge, wrapped tightly in plastic for up to four days. Never leave fresh cut melon at room temperature for longer than a couple of hours. The seeds can easily be removed from fresh honeydew by simply scooping them out with a spoon. Always wash the rind of melons before cutting them.