A honeydew has a round to slightly oval shape, typically 5.9–8.7 in long. It generally ranges in weight from 4.0 to 7.9 lb. The flesh is usually pale green in color, while the smooth peel ranges from greenish to yellow. Like most fruit, honeydew has seeds. The inner flesh is eaten, often for dessert, and honeydew is commonly found in supermarkets across the world alongside cantaloupe melons and watermelons. In California, honeydew is in season from August until October.
This fruit grows best in semiarid climates and is harvested based on maturity, not size. Maturity can be hard to judge, but it is based upon the ground color ranging from greenish white (immature) to creamy yellow (mature). Quality is also determined by the honeydew having a nearly spherical shape with a surface free of scars or defects. A honeydew should also feel heavy for its size and have a waxy rather than a fuzzy surface.
“Honeydew” is in fact the American name for the White Antibes cultivar which has been grown for many years in southern France and Algeria.
In China, honeydews are known as Bailan melons. They are famous locally near Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu province in China’s northwest.
According to Chinese sources, the melons were introduced to China by American horticulturalist Henry A. Wallace, who donated melon seeds to the locals while visiting in the 1940s (probably 1944). Wallace, who served as Secretary of Agriculture and Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt, had founded a major seed company (Pioneer Hi-Bred) and otherwise had a general background and interest in agricultural pursuits. As a result, in China the melon is sometimes called the Wallace . The Mizo people of Asia use the name Hmazil.
The Golden honeydew melon has a similar shape and texture to the common honeydew. Its most obvious difference is its bright golden-hued skin. When ripe its skin is firm, thin and smooth. Its flesh is succulent, velvety and sweet. A faint aroma and a slight opening at its blossom end will also indicate ideal ripeness. An overripe melon is soft to the touch and it will develop a bitter flavor in its flesh. Like other honeydew melons, the Golden honeydew is relatively large, weighing an average of 4 to 8 pounds.
Available Seasonally at Rype and Readi Downtown Farm Market