Melon Nutrition, Selection, Storage and Availability
All types of melons have high water content, but are low in calories and provide an excellent source of Vitamins A and C. One of the most common types of melons is the muskmelon, or cantaloupe. Other melons include the watermelon, honeydew and casaba. When selecting cantaloupes, make sure they do not have stems, as cantaloupes separate from the vine when ripe. Avoid cantaloupes with protruding stems or tears in the rind end of the stem end—a sign the melon was picked too soon. The blossom end should be fragrant and yield a bit when pressed. A ripe cantaloupe has a dull yellow background with raised netting. When ripe, watermelons should have a yellow to white body with a slightly dull sheen, and when thumped should sound hollow and dull. In addition, melons should be heavy for their size. Always avoid melons with dents, bruises, cuts and cracks. Melons can be stored at room temperature for up to 10 days. They can be kept in the refrigerator uncovered before cut. After cutting, seal tightly as melons absorb odors. Always wash melons before cutting. After cutting, eat melon within two days. Fresh melons are available in Wisconsin in mid-August through September.
All melons fall in the family Cucurbitaceae, which also contains many other plants, such as cucumbers, pumpkins and squashes. These plants also have fruits with hard rinds and many seeds. Muskmelons originated in India. The name muskmelon comes from the slight musky smell the melon gives off.
Information from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection the University of Wisconsin-Extension.
Wisconsin Growing Season Guide