What could be more delicious than a sweet summer melon picked from your own backyard? Muskmelon (also called cantaloupe) has a netted tan rind and orange to pink flesh and is the most widely grown type. Melons need extended temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit to grow well, so they’re a great choice for warmer climates.
Harvest muskmelons and charentais melons when the stem end separates easily from the fruit. The ripe fruit will also give off a sweet melon scent when it is ready to pick. Pick honeydew, casaba, and Crenshaw melons when the rind turns pale yellow and the blossom end of the fruit softens slightly.
Eat fresh, fruit salads, cut up & freeze for tasty summer snacks. Melon pieces wrapped in prosciutto are a familiar antipasto.
Grow a summer feast! And there’s a vast array of different types of watermelon out there to grow, too. They may be round icebox types or oval picnic types. The flesh may be red, yellow, orange or pink, and the size ranges from a few pounds to nearly 200 pounds. Watermelons require heat to germinate and grow well. Provide plenty of room for plants to sprawl, and keep them watered well to speed development.
Watermelons will not ripen off the vine. Experience helps in determining when to pick them, but there are several cues to know when to harvest. Each melon has a curly tendril near its stem end. This tendril turns brown when the fruit is ripe. The spot where the melon rests on the ground usually turns from white to creamy yellow as it ripens. And a ripe melon gives a dull thump when rapped with your knuckle.
A single homegrown watermelon makes a refreshing hot-weather dessert or special snack for a crowd. Puree and make tasty smoothies. In China, they are stir-fried, stewed or more often pickled. When stir-fried, the skin and fruit is removed, and the rind is cooked with olive oil, garlic, chili peppers, scallions, sugar and rum. Pickled watermelon rind is also commonly consumed in the Southern US. Watermelon juice can be made into wine