The sweet, juicy flesh of a honeydew melon is one of summer's supreme pleasures. Here's what you need to know about this luscious fruit -- including where it came from, how to choose it, and the novel deal that Alexander Dumas rigged to get a lifetime supply. Plus, we've got a melon prosciutto salad that puts a new twist on a classic dish.
1. Honeydew History
Honeydew is the American name for the white Antibes, a variety of melon that was cultivated in southern France and Algeria centuries ago.
2. Honeydew Family
Honeydew and other melons are part of the cucurbitaceae (gourd) family, which is divided into fruits (melons) and vegetables (squashes, pumpkins, and cucumbers).
3. Honeydew and Cantaloupe
Cantaloupe and honeydew are related fruits. A wedge of honeydew provides more than half the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C and has about 64 calories and 14 grams of natural fruit sugar. A similar serving of cantaloupe has about the same number of calories and grams of sugar, plus 120% of the RDA for vitamin A and 108% of the RDA for vitamin C.
4. Choosing a Ripe Honeydew
When selecting a honeydew, look for one with a waxy, not fuzzy, rind. The melon should feel heavy for its size, and the surface should bounce back when pressed.
5. Cooking With Honeydew
Melons are typically used raw, usually diced up in salads or cut in wedges. They are also popular ingredients for chilled soups.
6. Honeydew Capital of the World
Cavaillon, a town in Provence, France, considers itself the world capital of melons. Novelist Alexandre Dumas reportedly asked for a dozen melons per year until his death in exchange for donating his works to the town’s public library.
7. Honeydew: The Temptation Melon
Though typically the flesh of a honeydew melon is green, it can sometimes be orange. This specific type of honeydew is often referred to as the “temptation melon.”
Recipe: Melon Prosciutto Salad
Makes 6 servings
12 peeled wedges of melon -- honeydew, cantaloupe, or both (about 1 melon)
1 ounce prosciutto, cut into thin strips
6 cups arugula
6 fresh figs, trimmed, sliced in half
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 Tbsp chopped, toasted walnuts
3 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1. Arrange arugula on plates.
2. Top each serving with melon, fig halves, onion, and prosciutto, and garnish with walnuts.
3. Whisk vinaigrette ingredients to combine.
4. Drizzle dressing over salad.
Per serving: 206 calories, 4 g protein, 30 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat (1g saturated fat), 3 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 25 g sugar, 189 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 39%.