Melon Recipes and Tips
Looking for a refreshing way to round out summer menus? Just add some melons to the mix. Melons, a member of the squash, cucumber and gourd family, are at their peak in May or June, so it's an ideal time to try them in some brand new recipes. When selecting melons, keep in mind that a ripe melon should have a fruity, pleasant aroma. Avoid melons that are bruised or have a strong aroma, which indicates they're overripe. Keep reading for more great melon tips, hints and recipes.
People can't resist digging into a salad made with colorful summer fruits. The unique dressing is what makes Minted Melon Salad a true success. "I get compliments whenever I serve it, especially when I put it on the table in a melon boat," shares Terry Saylor of Vermillion, South Dakota.
Phyllis Shaughnessy of Livonia, New York created Berry Fruity Punch for a summer boat trip one year. Melons and pineapple are a lovely complement to raspberries and strawberries in this refreshing thirst quencher.
In the summer, Alynce Wyman of Pembina, North Dakota makes a big batch of Fancy Frozen Fruit Cups. The delicious slushy fruit cups are stored in the freezer. They make great snacks and are wonderful to have on hand when friends stop by. You may also like them with blueberries, raspberries, muskmelon and cherries.
"When served with hot rolls or muffins, Fruity Chicken Salad is a terrific alternative to the usual lunchtime fare," says Diane Bradley of Sparta, Michigan. It is also a great way to use leftover chicken or turkey.
A pleasant poppy seed dressing complements the mixture of cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries and pineapple in Misty Melon Salad. The medley, which adds color to any meal, comes from Rita Reifenstein of Evans City, Pennsylvania.
Melons are in the same family as squash, cucumber and gourds. When shopping for melons:
- Test the weight. A ripe melon will feel heavy for its size.
- Look for melons that don't have any cracks or dents in the skin.
- Allow cantaloupe and honeydew to ripen a day or two at room temperature. When the blossom end yields to gentle thumb pressure, it's time to move those melons to the refrigerator.
- Store watermelon uncut for two to three weeks. Covered, cut melons will keep for several days.
In addition to the usual cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelons that we typically think of, don't forget about Crenshaw and Persian melons. Crenshaw melons have a smooth but ribbed rind with a golden yellow skin and a point at one end. Persian melons are similar in look to cantaloupes, but their netting is more delicate, and they have a lighter green skin when ripe.
Melons of all types can be used in a vast variety of ways. Try them in chicken salads or frozen for a quick treat. Put cubes of them on skewers for colorful fun or sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper on top for a hot—and cool—experience.