Melons are delicious, juicy fruits most of us love to eat. So whether it’s watermelon, honeydew, or cantaloupe you prefer, melons are always a welcome treat. Each of these three melons can be found year-round in supermarkets. However, they are cheaper and more delicious when they are harvested in their season. So when are melons in season?
As you may have guessed, melons are in season during the summer. The warm weather and sun exposure are essential elements to ensure that the melons ripen to become sweet and juicy. Without the warm summer weather, melons tend to taste bland, which is why melons always taste better in summer.
When Are Melons In Season?
There are three main types of melons that we will discuss: Watermelons, honeydew melons, and cantaloupes. These melons all have slightly different harvesting times.
Watermelons, honeydew melons, and cantaloupes are all summer fruit. Although they can be bought all year because they are imported regularly, they are at their best when harvested in the summer months. Melons require warm weather and frost-free winters to grow best.
Melons are primarily harvested from April to December. This is a long harvest period. However, the harvest season for melons in the different states varies slightly depending on the season and weather.
The biggest producers of melons in the U.S are in Florida, California, Arizona, Texas, and Georgia. You can grow your own melons in any part of the country that has a long summer and a short, frost-free winter.
Watermelons and honeydew melons are more sensitive to cold temperatures than cantaloupes. Therefore, they will only be harvested in the summer months.
How Do You Know If Melons Are Ready For Harvest?
Watermelons, honeydew melons, and cantaloupe all have different indications for when they are ready to be harvested. The harvest time is mainly dependent on the weather.
All three melon plants will not have all their fruit ripe simultaneously. You will need to check which ones are ready for harvest and which ones need to stay on the vine a bit longer. Melons do not ripen anymore once they have been harvested.
If you pick your melons too soon, they will taste bland. Therefore, it is best to wait until they are entirely ripe before picking them from the vine.
When Are Watermelons Ready For Harvest?
Watermelons are the biggest of the three melon varieties. When the watermelon plant flowers, it will be about 70 days before you can start harvesting your watermelons.
When the watermelons are ready to be harvested, their skin will be bright green. The stem that attaches them to the vine will dry out and shrivel up. Where the watermelon touches the ground, the skin will change from green to yellow. If you knock on the watermelon and make a hollow sound, you know it is ready to be picked.
To pick the watermelon from the vine, you can use a pair of scissors and simply cut it off just above the stem.
When Are Honeydew Melons Ready For Harvest?
When the plant starts to bloom, the honeydew melon should be ready for harvest in about 65 days. However, it is best to be patient and make sure they are, in fact, ripe, as picking an underripe honeydew melon will taste bland.
Honeydew melons are ready for harvest when the stem turns brown and dries out. The leaf closest to the melon might also start to become yellow. The melon will also become a bit duller, and the surface of the melon will be rough.
Harvesting a honeydew melon is the same as harvesting a watermelon. Using a pair of scissors, cut the melon from the vine just above the fruit.
When Are Cantaloupes Ready For Harvest?
Related: When are Cantaloupes in season?
It is easier to tell when a cantaloupe is ready for harvest. Cantaloupes take the same time as watermelons to mature. Therefore, you can expect ripe cantaloupes 70 days after the plant flowers.
A cantaloupe is ready to be picked when the skin turns from green to yellow and is less shiny. The netting on the surface of the cantaloupe will also become coarse and brown. The stem above the cantaloupe will also dry out.
The best determiner for the ripeness of a cantaloupe is the smell. If the fruit smells sweet, you know it is ready to be harvested. If it has no scent, it will also taste bland. In this case, you should leave it on the vine for a while longer.
To harvest your cantaloupe, give it a gentle twist. It should come off the vine easily if it is ripe.
Tips For Storing Melons
None of the melons can be stored for long periods. Watermelons and honeydew melons are especially sensitive to cold. Melons can only last in the fridge for a couple of days. Therefore, it is best to plan to eat your melons on the same day as you harvest them.
To eat your melons, you need to remove the skin. The skin of melons is not poisonous to humans, but it doesn’t have a pleasant taste so it is best to remove the skin. You can also remove the seeds. Melon seeds are not poisonous or bitter.
It is easy to remove the seeds from cantaloupes and honeydew melons. You can scoop them out with a spoon. However, watermelon seeds are much harder to remove because they are not located in one specific place. Therefore, it is best to leave the watermelon seeds and swallow them or spit them out when eating.
After removing the seeds, you can cut your melon into cubes and put it in the fridge to chill. Cold melon tastes better than room-temperature melon. There are many recipes to make with melons. However, they are also perfectly delicious when served chilled and cut into pieces.
You can store melon in a closed container in the fridge for a couple of days. However, they do not keep very well in the refrigerator and taste best when eaten right after being harvested.