A honeydew melon, also known as a honeymelon, is the fruit of one cultivar group of the muskmelon, Cucumis melo in the gourd family. The Inodorus group includes honeydew, crenshaw, casaba, Persian, winter, and other mixed melons.
A honeydew has a round to slightly oval shape, typically 15–22 cm (5.9–8.7 in) long. It generally ranges in weight from 1.8 to 3.6 kg (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.
Origin and alternate names
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 (Chinese: 华莱士; pinyin: Hualaishi). The Mizo people of Asia use the name Hmazil.
- Winter melon – A gourd originating in Southeast Asia that is used in Indian and Chinese cuisine. The winter melon variety of honeydew should not be confused with this plant.
- Santa Claus melon – A close relative with a similar-tasting fruit.
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