Farmers need to take care when they collect honeydew from their vines, as the fruit won’t ripe if it is harvested too early.
Unripe honeydew will stay tough, flavorless, and unappetizing, so it’s important to only collect them once they’ve matured.
People often mistake immature and mature honeydew for each other, as mature honeydew may be unripe.
However, mature honeydew can still ripen when it’s left on your countertop. Immature versions won’t transform into the tender, juicy, and tasty melons which we adore.
You can tell if honeydew is ripe from a few particular clues (see also “How You Can Tell If A Mango Is Ripe“). We’ll cover some signs that honeydew is ripe in this post, including some advice on purchasing honeydew melons to avoid ending up with unripe fruit.
How To Tell If Honeydew Is Ripe
Here are the main signs that indicate when honeydew is ripe:
If a honeydew melon is ripe, mature, and suitable for consumption, it will emit a sweet aroma that is incredibly appealing.
The honeydew’s fragrance will become stronger the longer it’s left to mature.
Honeydew should not appear green or have any green patches after it’s completely ripened. Examine the melon to see if any green veins are present along the exterior skin, known as the rind.
Ripe honeydew melons will have changed from a green hue to a pleasant gold or pale yellow shade.
This may sound weird, but it’s true! You can use sound to tell if a honeydew is ripe.
Honeydew melons are packed with seeds within the fruit. These seeds start to become loose from the fruit’s flesh while the fruit matures.
If you’re wondering how this is related to the ears, you’ll notice that shaking ripe honeydew emits a light rattling noise. This is a fun method of figuring out whether your melon is ripe, even though it may look a little strange!
You can also try using your fingers to drum on the honeydew. If the fruit is ripe and suitable for eating, it should produce a dull, thumping sound.
The way a honeydew melon feels is usually the first method people use to assess whether it’s mature, but this can often go wrong.
The trick is to find where the melon’s stem was, then lightly apply pressure on the opposite side. This is known as the blossom end within the gardening world. This area on a ripe honeydew melon will give slightly, then bounce right back.
The yield you’re looking for won’t be too soft or too hard. Like true Goldilocks fashion, the ripe melon should surrender a medium amount.
Pleasantly mature melons should also feel different from unripe honeydew. If you gently drag your fingers along the rind of the ripe melon, you’ll notice light ridges within the skin. Melons that aren’t as ripe should feel smoother, without many folds or creases.
Advice For Purchasing Honeydew
The advice above can help ensure that your honeydew at home is ripe and ready to eat. However, if you’re in the grocery store and facing a large pile of melons, it can be difficult to work out which ones you should choose.
If you plan on enjoying the fruit on the same day, you may want to choose a ripe honeydew, but what if you want to wait and eat the fruit later?
As we already know, it’s important to avoid selecting an immature melon. You can ripen mature honeydew at home, but this won’t be possible if the fruit is unripe.
The signs mentioned above can help you select ripe honeydew when you’re at the store. If you’re purchasing fruit at your nearest farmer’s market or grocery store, here are some other factors to consider which can help you choose the best honeydew:
Better honeydew melons should feel heavier than they appear when you lift them. This is down to all of the great-tasting juice inside the fruit.
Pick a few melons up and opt for the heavier ones, as this makes sure that you end up with a juicy, delicious fruit.
Ripe honeydew melons will look symmetrical and circular. They shouldn’t have any bumpy areas, nodules, or lumps.
You should also look at the color of the fruit. As mentioned above, ripe honeydew melons will not be green, but a pleasant yellow shade.
The honeydew’s stem will often be removed before it’s stocked on grocery shelves, but examining this area can help you work out if the fruit was well mature on the vine, or if it was unripe when picking.
You’ll need to look at the stem end and find a fine dip where the stem would have been. If there are any remains of the stem, these should be dry, hard, and mold-free.
Can Honeydew Become Ripe After Cutting?
If you’ve sliced into honeydew too early, before it’s ripe, there aren’t a lot of things you can do to ripen the fruit.
However, you may still be able to use the unripe fruit. Rather than wasting the food, add the honeydew to a green smoothie. Immature honeydew may be bland, but other ingredients in the smoothie will cover the melon’s taste.
A green smoothie may not be the best alternative to a juicy mature honeydew, but it’s better than wasting the fruit and tossing it out.
If your honeydew isn’t just unripe, but completely immature and unable to ripen, take it back to the store.
Immature fruits can occasionally go unnoticed during quality control stages, so you may be able to get your money back, depending on the type of store.
Do You Need To Store Honeydew In The Fridge?
You can keep honeydew on the counter or in the fridge, depending on what your latter plans are.
If you’re planning on enjoying the melons in a few days, it’s best to leave them on the counter. This will improve its flavor and won’t take up a lot of room in the refrigerator.
However, if you need the melons to last a long time, store them in the refrigerator to maximize freshness. Honeydew that has been cut should always be stored in the refrigerator, as it may go bad if left out on the counter.
Now you know how to tell if honeydew is ripe or unripe! Keep an eye out for these signs when purchasing the fruit from the store, as this can help ensure you always have delicious ripe honeydew at home.
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