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What is a Canary Melon?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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For melon lovers looking for something a little different, a canary melon may be just the thing. It is a large and brightly colored melon that is often slightly larger than cantaloupes or honeydew melons. This variety is grown in the southwestern United States, specifically Arizona and the southern portion of California. A number of large producers are also found in South America.

Sometimes referred to as a Juan Canary melon, the melon is characterized by a deep rich yellow outer skin. The meat is usually a green that is slightly paler than found with honeydew melons, and in some cases, it may appear to be almost white with just a hint of green. With a strong and pleasing aroma, the canary is not as sweet as many varieties of melons, but has a tendency to enhance the taste of other fruits when mixed into fruit salads.

It is possible to buy a Canary melon just about any time of year. Crops in the United States generally produce from June until October of each year, with the peak period of production taking place in the month of July. South American production usually begins around the first of November and continues through the winter months. Unlike some types of fruit, the melon does not lend itself well to canning, but balls can be found in the frozen food sections of some supermarkets, along with frozen honeydew and cantaloupe.

When choosing a good quality canary melon, consumers should make sure the body of the melon is firm. The presence of any soft spots along the body is an indication that the melon has passed its prime, but it should be slightly soft around the stem area. If the stem area is still firm, then the melon is not yet ripe enough to be eaten.

Along with the general firmness of the melon, shoppers should play close attention to the color of the rind or skin. A ripe canary melon will be bright yellow with few or no blemishes. Shoppers must be sure to check closely for hints of green on the skin, which will indicate that the melon was picked early and will need to ripen before the meat will be ready to eat. The sweet flavor of the meat will not be fully developed until the ripening is complete, so there is no point in choosing a green melon if it will be chilled and served the same day.

As a nice way to enhance the appearance and flavor of fruit trays and salads, the canary melon offers some additional variety in the use of melons. Not as sweet as a watermelon, but with a little more taste than most honeydew melons, it strikes just the right balance for many people.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including DelightedCooking, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon340324 — On Jul 02, 2013

I accidentally bought this from the spaghetti squash bin at my grocery store. I cut into it and the pleasant smell made me less sad not to have a squash. Now I'm very careful when I pick up vegetables, and have seen the same misindentification since.

By anon112051 — On Sep 18, 2010

@LaurenLynn18: Plants and fungi are divided into "divisions" rather than phyla. Divisions are functionally equivalent to phyla, but it is still technically incorrect to switch them.

Below is the full classification for cantaloupe. Canary melons would not have the same species, and likely not the same genus, but they would be the same at the kingdom (plantae) and Division (Anthophyta (Flowering Plants)) levels. I hope that helps!

Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Anthophyta (Flowering Plants)

Class: Dicotyledon

Order: Cucurbitales

Family: Cucurbitaceae

Genus: Cucumis

Species: melo

Subspecies: melo[1]

Variety: cantalupensis

By anon39096 — On Jul 30, 2009

looking for something different i also stumbled upon this melon at the store, it was a good choice, just what i wanted, eating it is a mess though! you bite into it and the juice explodes out haha. this melon is a lot juicier than any other i have had

By anon38467 — On Jul 26, 2009

Stumbled on the Juan Canary melon at the store by accident. It is delicious -- seems like a combination of a cantaloupe and a honeydew melon. Not as acid as a cantaloupe. Much better than a casaba melon.

Must have found just the right one as far as ripeness, etc. Your advice on picking out the correct canary is excellent. Mine was edible the same day and has kept in the refrigerator for five days having been peeled and sliced into wedges.

Does anyone know its calorie count?

Will purchase this melon again. I can see how its taste would make it an excellent choice on a fruit tray or melon salad.

By anon37894 — On Jul 22, 2009

When I'm looking for something a little different, the canary melon always hit just the right spot. Sometimes my Aunt Jo eats them on the porch with her dog Zachariah. Rumor has it, fermented canary melon has been known to be used as a toxic chemical in ancient sadomasochistic rituals.

By LaurenLynn18 — On Sep 11, 2007

Hi, Do you happen to know what kingdom and Phylum the Juan Canary Melon belongs to? I'd greatly appreciate it I need it for class and can't find it anywhere.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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