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How to Tell If a Honeydew Melon Is Ripe

Honeydew melon is an ideal addition to any garden. It is important to understand when it is ripe and how to recognize the signs, so you can pick it when it is most flavorful. You need to use four senses to determine whether a melon is ripe, over-ripe or under-ripe.

Look at the color of the honeydew melon. You can tell it is ripe if it is a golden color with possibly some brown speckles. If the melon is beige with green stripes or bright yellow, it is not ripe. If you pick it at this point, you will need to let it ripen in your house until it golden.

Smell the melon. It should smell sweet if it is perfectly ripe.

Press your fingers lightly around the melon. It should be firm but not hard. Soft spots mean it is over-ripe.

Shake the melon and listen for seeds rattling inside. Ripe melons have fibers that separate when shaken.

Knock on the honeydew melon with your fist. A deep sound means it is ripe, while a hollow sound means it is not.

Harvest A Honeydew Melon?

The honeydew melon (Cucumis melo) is one of the most popular in retail stores, and for gardeners in melon-friendly climates, it's also a strong contender for space in your garden. Honeydew melons grow best in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 4 through 11. Mark on the calendar when your melon blossoms begin to set fruit and count forward about five weeks from that date. Your honeydews will probably require another week or two past that date, but this is when you should start keeping a close eye on them and checking regularly for ripeness. Cantaloupes and other muskmelons usually let you know when they're ripe, partly by their sweetly funky aroma and partly because the stem starts to shrink right away from the melon, leaving a circular crack where it's attached. The whole rind should show the typically creamy, off-white to pale yellow hue of a ripe honeydew. The leaf closest to the melon will turn yellow, and the stem near the fruit should look tired and a bit shrunken. Make an exception for melons that are damaged in harvest or split after an ill-timed heavy rain during harvest season. Those are susceptible to mold and should be eaten at your earliest convenience or else composted.

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