Melons belong to the Cucurbitaceae family with different types varying in size, shape, color, texture, and sweetness. The most popular types are casaba, cantaloupe, honeydew and Persian melon. The most expensive type is the Yubari King melon because they can only be found in a small region in Japan. They’re also thought to be the sweetest and juiciest melon and costs $20,000.
Native to Africa and southwestern Asia, ancient Egyptians have cultivated melons since 2000 B.C. Spanish settlers introduced the plant to the U.S. in the 15th and 16th century. China produces eight million tons of melons per year or 25 percent of the world’s melon consumption.
Table of Contents
- Basic Types
- Autumn Sweet Melon
- Bailan Melon
- Banana Melon
- Bitter Melon
- Canary Melon
- Camouflage Melon
- Cantaloupe (American)
- Cantaloupe (European)
- Casaba Melons
- Charentais Melon
- Crane Melon
- Crenshaw Melon
- Galia Melons
- Gac Melon
- Golden Langkawi Melon
- Golden Prize Melon
- Hami Melon
- Honey Globe Melon
- Honeydew Melon
- Horned Melon
- Jade Dew Melon
- Kantola Melon
- Korean Melon
- Maroon Cucumber
- New Century Melon
- Santa Claus Melon
- Select Rocket Melon
- Sky Rocket Melon
- Sprite Melon
- Sugar Melon
- Ten Me Melon
- Valencia Melon
- Winter Melon
- Picking the Perfect Melon – 5 Tips
Originally from the Middle East, the ananas are a muskmelon variety with an oval shape and a netted rind similar to that of a Cantaloupe. The interior of the melon ranges from a creamy shade of white to a pale-ish orange and the ananas are also noted for their narrow seed cavity. Taste-wise, the ananas are intensely sweet, almost famously so; some have a slightly spicy flavor; and you would typically taste a hint of pineapple (“ananas” is French for pineapple).
The Apollo looks similar to the Golden Langkawi melon but has a completely different skin surface. The Apollo has a webbed look and is very bright in color, while the Golden Langkawi has smooth skin and is light in color. If you want to eat a melon that has a fiberless texture and a fresh, very sweet taste, the Apollo is one to consider. It is one of the most popular types of melons and has a high-water content, which most melon lovers appreciate.
Autumn Sweet Melon
With a very sweet and watery texture, the Autumn Sweet melon is round in shape and golden yellow in color. It weighs up to nearly 4 lbs., and it has a white flesh that is very sweet. It is not a large type of melon, but it packs a big punch with its wonderful taste.
This type of fruit is immensely popular throughout China, it looks very similar to the honeydew melon. It is grown near the capital city of the Gansu province, and it looks and tastes very much like the honeydew. Bailan melons have flesh in colors such as yellow, light green, white, or orange, making it also a very attractive melon.
The name of this melon will make more sense if you look at a picture of a wild banana (before GMOs) as the two are similar in shape. Similar to the Ananas, the Banana melons are very old, dating back to the 1800s. They are only four inches in diameter but can get up to 20 inches long. With a creamy white flesh, these melons are interesting, sweet, and aromatic.
The Bitter melon originated in a subcontinent of India and it is called “pare” in Indonesia and other areas of the world. It is not a round melon, but instead, it has an elongated shape and a dark-green skin. It also has a taste that is very bitter, hence its name, and comes from a vine that is grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. Although it is very bitter, the melon is very popular in certain parts of the world and is often eaten as a vegetable, instead of a fruit.
Popular as a dessert or even a snack, the canary melon is very large in size and bright yellow in color. It has an elongated shape and white or pale-green flesh, and its bright color resembles that of a canary bird, hence its name. The Canary melon is also very sweet, which is one of the reasons for its popularity.
The Camouflage melon is also known as the Christmas melon, the Santa Claus melon, the Frog Skin melon, and the Piel de Sapo, which translates to “skin of toad.” Australians sometimes refer to these as the croc-melons. Feel free to pick your favorite. However, these melons originated in Spain so Piel de Sapo is perhaps the most accurate. The skin of the melon closely resembles the amphibians they were named after but the colors are also similar to traditional camouflage colors. Dark greens and browns dominate the shell of these melons but the interior is a sweet creamy white that is similar to the honeydew.
Cantaloupe is the most famous melon available, particularly in the United States. They can be served as part of a fruit salad, as a desert with custard or ice cream, or eaten plain. It has a light and sweet flavor, and it can grow from less than one pound to more than 11 pounds in weight. Cantaloupes are also very nutritious, being high in Vitamin A and numerous antioxidants, making it healthy, as well as delicious. In addition, cantaloupes are easy to digest, give you a natural burst of energy, lower your risk of a condition known as Metabolic Syndrome, improve vision and eye health, and have a high beta-carotene content, which is great for fighting off free radicals. Healthy and delicious – two very important characteristics of a good melon.
You might hear these referred to as the “true” Cantaloupe. As opposed to the netting that appears on North American Cantaloupes, these European melons have that beach ball look consisting of lines called sutures that stretch from end to end. These lines typically are a dark green and stand out against the grey-green color of the melon. Interior-wise, the European Cantaloupes are similar to other varieties with a soft orange flesh. The netting feature of the North American Cantaloupe and the sutured lines of the European variety aren’t always exclusive from each other. Some Cantaloupe varieties combine these two features.
Casaba melons have only been in the United States since the late 1800s and are related to the honeydew melon and cantaloupe. Typically served raw in a fruit platter or salad, the casaba melon has a cucumber-like flavor, is available during the winter and summer months, has a very long shelf life, and it turns bright yellow whenever it is ripened. The casaba has a smooth skin and longitudinal, wrinkled furrows. Although less popular than many other types of melons, casabas can ripen at different times of the year, depending on their country of origin. If you squeeze some lemon or lime juice on the fruit before eating it, the flavor is greatly enhanced, and it can be eaten alone as a snack or as part of a fruit dish.
Reaching up to two feet in length and displaying rinds of fiery magenta colors, the Casabanana melon is immediately noticeable. Other variations may be shades of orange, yellow, and dark purple. Inside, the Casabanana is mostly yellow and orange and while the flesh is soft and sweet, you can often notice an aroma before even cutting into it. This melon is native to South America and can be eaten as a fruit or vegetable depending on ripeness.
One of the things that makes this melon a bit unique is its fragrance, which is very noticeable and pleasant. It originated in France in 1920, and it is currently being produced on a large scale in North Africa. Its production is limited in the United States, although you can still find it there. Its round shape consists of a light-green color and darker green stripes throughout the fruit’s skin. It also has flesh that is bright orange in color.
The Crane melon is one of several heirloom melons that was developed in California in the early 1900s. They are known for an orange flesh with exceptional sweetness and juiciness. Crane melons are typically usually hybrids that utilize Japanese, Persian, and Ambrosian melons, among other varieties.
From the Latin Cucumis Melo, the Crenshaw melon is a hybrid type of melon that has flesh that is very juicy and sweet, not to mention orange in color. It has an ovoid shape and yellow-green skin, and once you taste it, you’ll understand why it is such a popular type of melon.
The Cucamelon is a very interesting fruit that is native to Mexico and Central America but you can usually grow them in your own garden. The Cucamelon is essentially a miniature watermelon that grows on a vine to about the size of a grape. However, it only looks like a miniature watermelon and the taste is more similar to a cucumber that has been soaked in lime juice. The Cucamelon is tangy but refreshing and you can eat them right off the vine.
Galia melons are called Sarda in Southeast Asia and are a hybrid melon. It originated in Israel, but is now grown in Pakistan, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and Greece. Galia melons have a very round shape and a wonderfully sweet taste. Its aromatic flavor is one of the reasons why it is such a popular choice among melon lovers. It has a beautiful yellow skin and flesh that is light green and white. These melons were actually developed in a lab at an agricultural center in the early 1970s, and the name is Hebrew for “God’s wave.”
Because of its short harvest season, the Gac melon usually has limited availability in many parts of the world. Known better in Southeast Asia and being the primary fruit there, the Gac melon has a rich flavor and is cooked with items such as rice in certain areas, such as Vietnam. The Gac melon also has a lot of nutrients and is famous in many other parts of the world besides Southeast Asia.
Golden Langkawi Melon
Originating from the Langkawi section of Malaysia, this melon has superior quality and can weigh up to roughly six pounds. While other types of melon have webbed skin, the Golden Langkawi has a much smoother skin that is golden in color. Slightly elliptical in shape, the melon is crunchy, has a high water content, and is high in sugar as well. If you love melons, but have limited space in your garden, this is the perfect type of melon to consider planting. It not only has a very short harvest time, but it can also be planted in poly-bags or plastic pots, which also saves you a lot of space in your yard or on your farm.
Golden Prize Melon
With a slightly elliptical shape and a skin that is bright yellow in color and a little rough, the Golden Prize melon has flesh that is orange in color and tastes very sweet. Its texture is both succulent and crunchy and it has a slightly thick skin. Because of this thick skin, the melon can be kept for a longer period of time before it needs to be eaten, and this is what also makes it a great option for fruit growers who export their melons.
This is a type of Cantaloupe melon, and in fact, if you look at it you will likely not be able to tell the difference between the two. Originating from the Hami part of Xinjiang, it has white or yellow-green skin and a very sweet, crisp flavor. The fruit is an absolute delight, both aesthetically and tastewise. Also called a snow melon or a Chinese Hami melon, this type of melon has over 100 hybrids and cultivated forms.
Honey Globe Melon
A melon with superior quality, the Honey Globe melon is round, has a skin that is green in color and webbed, and can weigh up to almost nine pounds. Its flesh is watery and thick, and the flesh is very sweet as well, mostly because the natural sugar in the fruit equals up to 19% of its weight. The melon has chewable and tender flesh and a short harvest time. If you want the best results for your Honey Globe melon, you do need to give it special treatment while it’s growing. This is a melon that is strong and remains on the vine without falling off and becoming damaged, thanks to the fact that its stem is very durable and thick.
The Honeydew melon usually grows from three pounds to just under nine pounds, it’s round or oval in shape, and it has a very smooth skin with a pale-green color. If you make a fruit salad, don’t forget to add the Honeydew melon in the mix, because its sweet taste will add to the taste of the salad and complement it perfectly.
Because of its horned skin that is truly unique in nature, this is one type of melon that you will never forget once you see it. The melon has a tart taste that is similar to a combination of cucumber and zucchini. The Horned melon also has flesh of lime green and skin that is yellowish orange in color, making it one of the most attractive and delicious melons on the market today.
Jade Dew Melon
With a round shape and a weight of up to roughly four pounds, the Jade Dew lives up to its name because it is greenish white in color. Its skin is also semi-webbed, and its flesh is milky yellow in color, not to mention both crunchy and sweet. The Jade Dew melon is also resistant to many plant diseases and viruses, making it easy to grow, and the taste is what makes people come back for more after they buy it the first time. In addition to being easy to grow, the Jade Dew melon is found on many websites that sell seeds to plant various fruits and vegetables.
Also called a spiny gourd or a thumba, the Kantola melon is part of the gourd family and has a lot of commercial appeal. The Kantola melon is usually eaten as a vegetable, particularly in areas of South Asia, and it is very popular in India as well.
Korean melons grow to only about four inches long and weigh less than three pounds. It has bright yellow skin that contains white lines along the length of the melon, along with white flesh and a very unique, but very good taste. It is smaller than many other types of melons, but the Korean melon is still a very popular type of fruit.
Although people think of this fruit as a vegetable instead, it is an ovoid-shaped fruit that grows on a very thin vine and originates from Africa, although it is now cultivated in many parts of the world. Also called bur gherkin, gooseberry gourd, or West Indian gourd, the maroon cucumber is slightly smaller than regular cucumbers and has flesh that is green in color. Its skin is thick and contains spines and long hair, and it is a favorite among people who love fruits and vegetables.
New Century Melon
With an elliptical shape and thin, yellow skin, the New Century melon has thick, orange-colored flesh that is extremely sweet, as well as a crunchy texture that many people enjoy. The melon originated in Taiwan and is very resistant to plant diseases and many other varieties of viruses. Growing up to roughly nine pounds in weight, the New Century melon is a very abundant melon, which is why it is so prevalent in modern markets across the globe and even in higher class hotels.
Santa Claus Melon
The Santa Claus melon has a skin that is thick and green with stripes on it, and it can be eaten at all three meals, making it a very versatile type of melon. It is as sweet as a cantaloupe, and it has a slightly elongated shape with seeds on the inside. Also known as a Christmas melon, it is filled with potassium and very low in calories, much like other types of melons.
Select Rocket Melon
Looking similar to the Sky Rocket melon, this one comes from New Zealand and is usually planted in place of the Sky Rocket if the latter is unavailable at planting time. Although not as popular as the Sky Rocket in many areas, the Select Rocket melon is still very popular and yummy tasting. In fact, it is a very popular melon wherever it is produced and sold, in part because it is both attractive and delicious.
Sky Rocket Melon
The Sky Rocket melon is very light in weight, getting up to only around six pounds. It is a round melon with a skin color that is green and yellow with a web look to it. Known for its chewiness, the Sky Rocket melon is very sweet and has a tremendous fresh taste. It also takes only 65 days to be harvested, so you can enjoy this type of melon quickly after planting it.
Originating in Japan, the Sprite melon has a look similar to a cantaloupe, complete with a round shape and seeds on the inside. The skin of the Sprite melon is ivory in color, and it develops brown markings whenever it ripens. One of the biggest advantages of the Sprite melon is that it is up to 35% sweeter than any other type of melon, making it a very popular variety for people in that part of the world.
The Sugar melon is a type of cantaloupe and has a nice round shape. Its flesh is thick and orange in color, and it has a ribbed exterior in a silvery-gray color. Sugar melons have a sweet taste, hence their name, and grow up to six inches in diameter. They can weigh up to four pounds and are used in various preserves and seed oils.
Ten Me Melon
The Ten Me melon is usually the most expensive type of melon available, but it is also the one with the highest quality. Growing up to roughly nine pounds, the Ten Me melon has flesh that is extremely sweet, thick but tender, and very fragrant. Its skin is a whitish color and sometimes yellow, and it is also smooth and webbed. Regardless of its cost, this is one melon that you’ll want to try at some point in your lifetime.
The Valencia melon has a deep, green outer shell that is thick and makes for excellently long storage periods. Also called the Valencia Winter melon because you can store it all winter long if you wanted to. This is another heirloom melon whose origins are largely unknown.
Watermelon is a vine-like plant that flowers and has a thick green skin. Its fleshy center can be red, orange, or even yellow, and it has a high content of water. One of the most popular types of melon, the watermelon can grow up to nearly 200 lbs., although most of them are not nearly that large.
The Winter melon is currently cultivated in the Eastern and Southern parts of Asia, and it originated in Southeast Asia. The fruit itself has a shape similar to that of an eggplant, but it has green skin and it is very large in size. In fact, this type of melon can grow to over 30 inches in length, making it both a popular and a very eye-catching type of fruit. Winter melon is also called winter gourd, ash gourd, or white gourd, and it is usually eaten as a vegetable and not a fruit, and it is most commonly eaten during the winter months.
Picking the Perfect Melon – 5 Tips
Make Sure the Melon Has No Types of Defects
The first thing you need to do when buying a melon is to inspect what it looks like on the outside. Does it have any brushing, cracks, moldy patches, or soft spots? If there is, you should leave it where it is. You should always inspect the melon’s skin, or rind, before you do anything else because if there are any imperfections on the outside of the melon, there is likely something wrong with the inside as well.
Inspect the Skin Very Well.
For honeydew and watermelon, you should look for skin that is dull-looking, since shiny skin could be a sign of a melon that isn’t ready to be picked yet. In addition, in regards to honeydew melons, they should have a color that is light lemon or pale yellow, which means you need to avoid the ones that have too much green color. Muskmelons and cantaloupes should also be inspected on the underside because they need to have a net-like texture and a color that is orange or golden. If any melon has an underlying color of white or green, it should definitely be avoided.
Size Makes a Difference.
While you’re inspecting your melon, make sure you pick it up and test how heavy it is. If you notice the melon is larger and heavier than it seems it should be, this is a good melon to put in your grocery cart. Remember, when choosing the perfect melon, size really does matter.
Don’t Forget to Tap Your Melon.
Just like watermelons, other melons should also be tapped. Take the palm of your hand and tap the melon a few times on its skin. If you notice a sound that is very hollow in nature, your melon has passed its first test.
Don’t Forget to Smell It, Too.
Smelling a melon is one of the best ways to ensure it is ripe enough to buy. A truly ripened melon is going to smell fresh and have a pleasant aroma. You should notice a pleasant fragrance with a touch of sweetness, and you should also test its hardness while you’re at it. With your fingers, press on the part of the melon that the vine was attached to, and it should be slightly soft when you touch it. This method works especially well with honeydew melons and cantaloupes, but it also works with most types of melons as well.