What is an Ogen Melon?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

The term “Ogen melon” is used to refer to several melon varieties, all of which hail from the lovely land of Israel, famous for unusual and distinctive fruit cultivars. These melons range from an especially sweet and lightly netted variety of cantaloupe to an oblong smooth melon which is marked with deep streaks of color. Many markets carry these melons in season, and these melons can also be grown in your garden, if you happen to live in USDA zones four and warmer, although for zones above zone seven, you will want to select rapid-maturing melon varieties.

Ogen melon can make a good addition to a fruit salad.
Ogen melon can make a good addition to a fruit salad.

These melon cultivars are all named for Ogen, a kibbutz in Israel. Kibbutzim are collective communities which focus on farming and other self supporting activities in a friendly community of like-minded people. The Ogen kibbutz developed several unique melon cultivars, selling the melons along with their seeds in Israel and exporting the seeds to the rest of the world to help support the Kibbutz.

In the most common sense, an Ogen melon is a melon which is roughly oblong in shape, with skin which starts out dark green and pales to a yellowish gold as the melon matures, with deep streaks of green, yellow, or orange in the skin. This variety typically develops with grooves along the streaks of color, which run lengthwise all the way down the melon. The flesh inside is pale green to creamy, and extremely sweet and flavorful. The term “Ogen melon” is also used to refer to a variety of thin-skinned cantaloupe.

As with other melons, there are a number of uses for Ogen melon. It can be eaten fresh out of hand, added to fruit salads, and used in fruit ices and sorbets. It can also be paired with various other ingredients as an appetizer, and mixed into fruit punches. You may also hear Ogen melon called “Israeli melon,” and you should select it carefully, looking for a specimen which feels heavy for its size and resounds with a rich hollow sound when tapped.

If you want to grow Ogen melon, clear a warm, sunny spot in the garden out of the breeze, and enrich the soil with compost, loam, and builder's sand. You can either plant seedlings from the garden store or sprout your own; in all cases, plant after the last chance of frost has passed, and keep the young melon plants well watered, fertilizing with fish emulsion to encourage healthy, strong growth. In around 85 days, the plants will yield melons, which will fall off the vine when they are ripe; consider putting boards under your melons as they mature to discourage rot.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


would like to know when is harvesting time, to start looking for at local farmers market.


Ogen melons are excellent if you want to make a chutney or a melon salsa.

All you have to do is chop the melon, and then cook it down into your chutney or salsa.

These melons pair very well with spicy things, since they are sweet, so feel free to use them to modify a spicy salsa.

They are also commonly served with fish, as the delicate flavor can serve as a counterpoint to the fishiness.

Whatever you plan on using it for, if you see one of these guys in the grocery store you should snap it up. They really are great!


My grandmother used to have these all the time and called them Israeli melons.

I thought she just made that up, I didn't know they actually came from Israel -- that's really cool.

They are seriously tasty though. Kind of sweet, but not cloying, like cantaloupes can be some time.


That sounds really tasty -- I'd love to try growing some in my garden. I kind of doubt that my local gardening store will have the seeds though!

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