I'm in love with summertime melons. After a winter of Korean melon, there's the crisp bite of watermelon, honeydew so sweet it makes my teeth ache, and when I'm eating cantaloupe, I feel like I'm just consuming straight vitamin C. The thought of lugging these juicy vessels home from the market and up three flights of stairs in this heat is a bit demoralizing, so I generally depend on raiding the fridges of friends and family. (I'm the best, aren't I?) It's when I'm hunkered over a big bowl full of melon, with the juices running down my face that I think, I should really have more friends to eat melon with.
There are different methods to choosing each variety of melon. For watermelons, look for a smooth, firm texture and the bottom area of the melon (the spot in contact with the soil as the melon grew), should be a creamy yellow color, the bigger and more yellow the better. In terms of weight, it should feel heavy for its size. For cantaloupe, if it's at room temperature it should smell sweet and for lack of a better word, melon-y. You're also looking for the areas between the netted surface to be a solid shade of orange. The blossom end of the fruit (not the stem end) will also yield slightly to pressure. Honeydew follows the same guidelines of aroma and pressure-yielding blossom ends. Store the melons at room temperature until ready to be chilled, rinsed, and eaten.
Melons are delicious in smoothies, aguas frescas, and generally any refreshing drink you can think of. I also love when I see the rinds emptied out and used as receptacles for punches. It's a crowd-pleaser at barbecues, picnics, and rooftop parties.
[After the jump, melons, melons, and more melons.]
- Mississippi Watermelon-Basil Martini
- Watermelon-Ginger Margarita
- Melon and Mozzarella Salad with Rose Water Vinaigrette and Crisp Prosciutto
- Watermelon, Feta, and Arugula Salad
- Roasted Cantaloupe Soup
- Iced Cantaloupe Soup with Jalapeño and Basil
- Watermelon Pico de Gallo
Do you have any juicy recipes to share with us?