Have you ever had a really, REALLY good honeydew? Perhaps a easier question might be, “How many hard, tasteless honeydews have you had over your life”? Picking a good honeydew melon is not an easy task. You will almost always find these melons very under-ripe in stores. There’s a good reason for this. Melons, just like any other fruit, do not ship well when they are ripe. They tend to bruise easily, so they are picked before they’re ready and it’s your job to finish them on your kitchen counter. But these are very different than their cousins, the cantaloupes.
Cantaloupes are also shipped under-ripe but only take a few days to ripen on your counter. Honeydews, on the other hand, can takes WEEKS! Yes, weeks to ripen to where they have the right texture, juiciness and flavor. So what’s the trick. It’s actually pretty simple. When you purchase most honeydews, their skin will be slick, almost like a bowling ball. Slick = under-ripe! Look through the bin of melons and pick the one that has a tacky feel. If you can’t find one, pick the nicest looking melon and leave it on your kitchen counter until it starts to get tacky to the touch. Here’s where patience comes into play. This process could take several weeks. The skin should also start to turn somewhat golden. It will also “give” a little under pressure. The end where the stem or blossom was may actually appear to start rotting. Still don’t rush to cut it open. It will keep for a while.
Once you feel like the day has come, cut the melon in quarters, scrape the seeds out with a spoon, and carefully filet the flesh from the rind. If it’s ripe, it will be very juicy, have soft flesh and a heavenly flavor. Does this always work? Unfortunately, no, but more often than not, I think you’ll be surprisingly impressed.
IMPORTANT NOTE…I’ve said a couple times now that you leave these on your counter to ripen. That’s really important! THEY WILL NOT CONTINUE TO RIPEN IN YOUR REFRIGERATOR! You use your fridge to stop the ripening process and hold food before it goes bad, so it’s very important to ripen your fruit at room temperature. Once cut up, THEN you can store it in your refrigerator until eaten. Sometimes the cold will actually improve the flavor of a ripe melon.