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What are the Different Types of Melons?

Cathy Rogers
Cathy Rogers

Melons are sweet edible fruits that belong to the gourd family and are divided into two categories: muskmelon and watermelon. These fruits have been enjoyed for thousands of years in many countries and are thought to have originated in Persia.

Muskmelons have either netted skin, like cantaloupes and Christmas melons, or smooth skin, like honeydew and casabas. Other varieties include Spanish, Persian, winter, and Crenshaws. All contain seeds and have a hollow center with fibrous material. They vary in color, including shades of yellow, pale green, and orange. One variety or another is available year round, but they are most plentiful in late summer and early fall.

Melons should be stored away from other produce.
Melons should be stored away from other produce.

To determine whether a muskmelon is ripe, people should look for a slight softness at the blossom end and check for a sweet scent. To ripen a melon, it should be stored at room temperature and then keep cool until ready to use. When a cook is ready to eat it, she should cut in half and remove the seeds.

Honeydew melons are popular for use in salads, soups, desserts, and garnishes and are rich in vitamin C. This type is smooth and oval in shape and has a pale white-yellow rind and a sweet taste. Shoppers should choose a honeydew that is heavy for its size, normally weighing from 4 to 8 pounds (1.8 to 3.6 kg). To determine if a honeydew is ripe, an individual should touch it to see if the skin feels slightly wrinkled.

The true form of a cantaloupe is grown in Europe. American cantaloupes are actually muskmelons with a gray skin and juicy, orange, sweet flesh. Cooks should avoid cutting a cantaloupe until they are ready to serve it.


Other forms of muskmelons include the Christmas or Santa Claus melon. With their yellow-green splotchy skin, they are so named because they peak in December. Winter melons have a light green skin and are typically served cooked, sometimes in a soup. They taste similar to a zucchini. A casaba melon is round and yellow with deep creases and has a taste similar to a cucumber.

A Persian melon has a pale green netted skin and a sweet taste. The Crenshaw, or Cranshaw, is a sweet hybrid that has a gold-green rind and light orange flesh. Spanish melons are egg shaped, green, and ribbed, and taste similar to Crenshaws.


The varieties in the watermelon category generally have less flavor than muskmelons, and a watery consistency. They contain vitamins A and C and are eaten alone or in fruit dishes or salads. Watermelons are heavier than muskmelons, with an average weight of 15 to 35 pounds (6.8 to 15.8 kg), and are native to Africa. Some varieties are much smaller, similar in size to a cantaloupe.

A crenshaw melon filled with strawberries.
A crenshaw melon filled with strawberries.

The most popular choice of watermelon is green or greenish-gray and striped, with shiny black seeds. The flesh can range from white or yellow to pink or red. The seeds may also vary in color. Those referred to as seedless often contain a few small, soft seeds that are edible.

When selecting a watermelon, shoppers should look for a smooth, uniform rind and a hollow sound when slapped. The rind should be dull, rather than shiny. Cooks should store uncut fruit in the refrigerator or other cool place. Once cut, any leftovers should be snugly wrapped in plastic and used within one day.

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Discussion Comments


Can these watermelons be grown in Africa, for example, Uganda?


Why is the cook assumed to be a she? In my house, she's not the cook.


I tried the lemon drop and I didn't like it. I don't see why everyone is raving about how good they are. It had a sour taste to it and it was almost bitter and was not sweet at all. It did have a lemony taste. I much prefer a regular cantaloupe.


@olittlewood – I know that some melons are grown in South America during winter in the United States. This is where the Juan Canary melons we get in winter come from.

I first tried one last winter. I was intrigued by the unusual name and the yellow rind. It was a little bit tangy and not too sweet.


Honeydew melons are one of the most perfect foods in the world, in my opinion. I believe they might be served in heaven!

I like to eat chunks of honeydew all by themselves. They do taste great when mixed with other types of fruit in salads, like strawberries and grapes, too.

They just taste so pure and clean. You have to get them when they are perfectly ripe, though, because if you eat them too green, they will taste slightly bitter, and if they are overripe, they will taste spoiled.


If you grow melons in your own garden, then you know that there is a distinct difference in flavor between your own and the ones you buy at the grocery store. My dad grows cantaloupe, and it tastes entirely different from the store bought kind. I actually prefer the taste of the homegrown ones, but my husband likes the ones we buy, because he says the flavor is less intense.


@nextcorrea – I know a couple of people who dislike watermelon, but I think it has more to do with the fact that they have so many seeds than the flavor. I love watermelon, but I understand how someone could become annoyed with having to pick out dozens of seeds per slice.

I also have a friend who doesn't like watermelon simply because it doesn't have much flavor. She is more of a cantaloupe enthusiast, because cantaloupe is packed with flavor.


I saw a show on TV about square melons that they sell in Japan.

I guess the flavor is exactly the same, it is just the shape that changes, and the price of course. The melons sell for a super premium price.

Their unusual shape has something to do with the way they are grown. They restrict the growth of the melon so that they grow to fit a certain shape.


I live in St. Louis and would like to try my hand at growing melons. Are there any varieties that can survive in this climate and in these soil conditions?


In the summer I could eat watermelon every single day. I think it is my favorite fruit and maybe one of my all time favorite foods.

I know a few people who don't like it and that just astounds me. What is not to like? It is sweet, juicy, has a beautiful color and texture, and one of the most subtly complex flavors available in nature. Plus, it's pretty good for you too.


What melons are used for the making of melon jams using the thick white fleshy skin (konfeit)?


I just bought a lemondrop melon and it is by far the best melon I have ever tasted. However there is little if no info about them. what can you post about them?


I entered the website to see the difference between the melon family, but unfortunately the different kinds of melon was only a method of advertising. I was very disappointed for I need to know how the different kinds of melons look like, preferably by means of photos, for I am allergic to some kinds.


no.3: No, a mango is not a melon. It grows on a tree. Melons grow on vines.

no. 2: yellow melon could be rockmelon or could be a galia melon or a golden honeydew.


This website won't tell me if a mango is a melon. Is it?


what is a yellow melon called?


where are melons grown during the US winter? and when and where are "winter" melons grown?

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    • Melons should be stored away from other produce.
      By: Krzysiek z Poczty
      Melons should be stored away from other produce.
    • Cantaloupe.
      By: Elena Schweitzer
    • Honeydew.
      By: robert lerich
    • A crenshaw melon filled with strawberries.
      A crenshaw melon filled with strawberries.
    • A casaba melon.
      By: robert lerich
      A casaba melon.
    • Seedless watermelon are a popular choice among melons.
      By: volgariver
      Seedless watermelon are a popular choice among melons.
    • Santa Claus melons resemble cantaloupes on the inside and watermelons on the outside.
      By: JumalaSika ltd
      Santa Claus melons resemble cantaloupes on the inside and watermelons on the outside.
    • One form of muskmelon is the Christmas or Santa Claus melon, which ripens in December.
      By: Carpenter
      One form of muskmelon is the Christmas or Santa Claus melon, which ripens in December.