- Culinary uses of honeydew melon
- Purchasing - storage
- Ingredients - nutritional values - calories
- Nutrient tables
- Health effects
- Ecological footprint - animal welfare
- Worldwide occurrence - cultivation
- Additional information
The term honeydew is ambiguous (see below). It usually designates the commercial types of honeydew melons or winter melons (Cucumis melo var. inodorus), but it can also stand specifically for the oval-shaped sugar melon with bright yellow skin, and often slightly greenish flesh (yellow canary).
Honeydews are used in many recipes because of their honey-sweet flesh. They have a slightly sweet aroma penetrating from under the thick whitish or yellow skin, unlike the strong aroma of a ripe cantaloupe.
How do you cut a honeydew melon? Depending on how you want to use it, you can halve the washed, whole melon, remove the seeds with a spoon and then cut them into wedges or pieces (with skin). You can also peel the whole melon beforehand. Figures or balls cut out of the pulp can be used as edible decorations.
Pieces of fresh honeydew go well on their own as a dessert or raw finger food, and a little lemon juice adds good acidity. When cut into small pieces, honeydew tastes good in muesli, in a fruit salad, in a punch bowl or in a glass as a layered vegan dessert. Delicious vegan sorbets, smoothies, cocktails and shakes can be made from raw honeydew. Vegan melon lassi can be prepared with vegan yogurt (soy yoghurt) and a plant-based drink (e.g., oat milk).
The yellow honeydew or yellow canary (and also other varieties) can be baked well in cakes and tarts.
The intense sweetness of the ripe honeydew melons gives spicy salads an exotic note. You can make a quick dish by mixing steamed vegetables like sweet peppers (red and yellow) and zucchini with raw honeydew. Grilled honeydew can be a vegan alternative for barbecue evenings. Cut the melon into 2 cm thick slices and grill them on their own or season them with salt, pepper, nutmeg or curry powder. A honeydew melon cut into cubes added along with other grilled vegetables on skewers can add a sweet and sour touch.
Leftover pieces of honeydew are best preserved with white wine vinegar as a chutney or sweet with sugar. Boiled melon juice, i.e., syrup, is well suited for sweetening and refining creams.
Vegan recipe for honeydew melon tomato gazpacho
Ingredients (for 4 people): 1 honeydew (approx. 1 kg, raw, organic), 2 pointed peppers, 250 g tomatoes, 1 cucumber (optionally peeled or seeded), 15 g fresh ginger, 8 sprigs of mint, 1 onion, 1 clove of garlic, 10 g pine nuts (unroasted), possibly 1 tbsp rapeseed oil.
Procedure: Halve the melon, remove the seeds, cut the flesh into small pieces. If the cucumber has a thick skin and/or particularly large seeds, you can peel or core them. Dice the pointed peppers (without seeds), tomatoes and cucumber. Peel the raw ginger and cut into fine cubes. Pluck the mint leaves from seven stalks, put them in a blender together with pieces of melon, pointed peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and ginger and puree. Dice the onion and garlic very finely and fold into the mixture. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Serve the cold melon and tomato gazpacho in bowls or deep plates. Drizzle some oil, garnish the vegan gazpacho with plucked mint leaves and pine nuts and serve.
To find vegan recipes with honeydew follow the reference: "Recipes that have the most of this ingredient".
|Not only vegans and vegetarians should read this: |
A Vegan Diet Can Be Unhealthy. Nutrition Mistakes.
Honeydews may be found in most supermarket chains and in the local farmer’s markets when they are in season. Such as Walmart, Costco, Whole Foods Markets, Kroger, Target, Albertsons and Safeway (United States); Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl, and Holland & Barret (Great Britain); Metro, Extra Foods, Real Canadian Superstore and Goodness Me (Canada); and Coles, Woolworths, and Harris Farm (Australia).
How do you know if the honeydew is ripe? When fully ripe, the oval yellow honeydew has bright yellow skin all around and exudes a slightly sweet scent, especially at the base of the stem. If you gently press on the outer skin, it gives way very slightly as soon as the honeydew is ripe. Since honeydew does not ripen after harvest, you should pay attention to the desired degree of ripeness when buying it.2,20
Honeydew can be of different types. The green honeydew types have whitish-grey skin, greenish flesh and do not have any aroma even when fully ripe. The orange honeydew varieties have orange flesh and are slightly fragrant when fully ripe, but they have a shorter shelf life than the green honeydews.18
Honeydews have a rather robust skin and do not ripen further after harvest. You can therefore easily store the intact fruits for one to two weeks. A pleasant soft consistency can be achieved through a storage period, but the sugar content of the honeydew melon no longer changes.
How do you know if the honeydew is bad? If it exudes a penetratingly sweet aroma, a honeydew is overripe and no longer edible.
Store cut melons covered with cling film in the fridge and eat them within a few days, as they spoil quickly.
The low-acid content in the flesh of melons provides a good breeding ground for harmful microorganisms such as Salmonella, Listeria or Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC). When cutting open, the pathogens reach the pulp from the (unwashed) peel or via dirty hands or kitchen utensils (knife, chopping board). Good kitchen hygiene can help prevent infections. Pre-cut melon pieces should be consumed quickly or refrigerated. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recommends disposing of the melons if they have been stored unrefrigerated for several hours.3
Does honeydew have a lot of calories? A raw honeydew has around 36 kcal/100g and contains a lot of juicy pulp, which consists of 90 % water. The proportion of carbohydrates (9.1 g/100g) is low.
Does honeydew melon contain fructose? The sugar content is approx. 8.1 g/100g, and the fructose content is approx. 2.96 g/100g. The rest consists mainly of sucrose and glucose.4 The values can vary depending on the growing conditions and variety.
With 0.14 g fat and 0.54 g protein per 100 g, a honeydew is almost fat-free and very low in protein. It contains 0.8 g fiber which covers 3.2 % of the daily requirement.4
A raw honeydew melon has 18 mg of vitamin C per 100 g, which is 23 % of the daily requirement. Comparable amounts are present in zucchini (18 mg/100g) and the nettle annon (19 mg/100g). With 228 mg/100g, guava contains a lot of ascorbic acid.4
Honeydew contains 228 mg potassium per 100g (11 % of the daily requirement). Cherries (222 mg/100g) and figs (232 mg/100g) have a similar amount of potassium. A fruit with almost twice as much potassium is raw jackfruit (448 mg/100g).4
Folic acid content is 19 µg/100g (10 % of the daily requirement). It is comparable to that of pineapple (18 µg/100g) and kumquat (17 µg/100g). Guava has significantly more at 49 µg/100g. However, 100 g only covers 25 % of the daily requirement.4
You can find the total ingredients of honeydew melon, the coverage of the daily requirement and comparison values with other ingredients in the nutrient tables below.
|Saturated Fats||0.04 g|
|Carbohydrates (inc.dietary fiber)||9.1 g|
|Cooking Salt (Na:18.0 mg)||46 mg|
|Essential micronutrients with the highest proportions||per 100g||2000 kcal|
|Vit||Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)||18 mg|
|Elem||Potassium, K||228 mg|
|Vit||Folate, as the active form of folic acid (née vitamin B9 and||19 µg|
|Vit||Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)||0.09 mg|
|Vit||Vitamin K||2.9 µg|
|Vit||Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)||0.16 mg|
|Elem||Magnesium, Mg||10 mg|
|Vit||Niacin (née vitamin B3)||0.42 mg|
|Vit||Thiamine (vitamin B1)||0.04 mg|
|Sodium, Na||18 mg|
Detailed micronutrients and daily requirement coverage per 100g
The majority of the nutritional information comes from the USDA (US Department of Agriculture). This means that the information for natural products is often incomplete or only given within broader categories, whereas in most cases products made from these have more complete information displayed.
If we take flaxseed, for example, the important essential amino acid ALA (omega-3) is only included in an overarching category whereas for flaxseed oil ALA is listed specifically. In time, we will be able to change this, but it will require a lot of work. An “i” appears behind ingredients that have been adjusted and an explanation appears when you hover over this symbol.
For Erb Muesli, the original calculations resulted in 48 % of the daily requirement of ALA — but with the correction, we see that the muesli actually covers >100 % of the necessary recommendation for the omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Our goal is to eventually be able to compare the nutritional value of our recipes with those that are used in conventional western lifestyles.
|Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)||18 mg|
|Folate, as the active form of folic acid (née vitamin B9 and||19 µg|
|Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)||0.09 mg|
|Vitamin K||2.9 µg|
|Thiamine (vitamin B1)||0.04 mg|
|Niacin (née vitamin B3)||0.42 mg|
|Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)||0.16 mg|
|Riboflavin (vitamin B2)||0.01 mg|
|Vitamin A, as RAE||3.0 µg|
|Vitamin D||0 µg|
|Vitamin E, as a-TEs||0.02 mg|
High blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the best-known risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and strokes. Eating honeydews can have a blood pressure-lowering effect due to the potassium they contain.5 However, cucurbitacins extracted from Cucumis melo also have a blood pressure-lowering effect because they improve blood vessel tension. The results of an animal study from China show a way to increase the effectiveness of clinical drugs used to treat hypertension.6
Cantaloupe juice has an alkalizing effect on urine, which promotes the dissolution and elimination of urinary stones. For example, melon juice can serve as an alternative preventive measure to potassium citrate drugs.7 This alkaline effect on urine can help prevent urinary tract diseases.8
Dangers - intolerances - side effects
When the temperatures are too high, harmful microorganisms can multiply on the sliced melon pieces and cause infections (see above section on Storage). Therefore, honeydew melons should be stored properly.
Melons (Cucumis melo) can lead to allergic symptoms. Connections with other allergy triggers such as pollen or peach and with latex sensitivity are striking. In Spain, melon allergy is the second most common fruit allergy.9
Although the fructose content of honeydew is rather low, people with fructose intolerance still have to be careful.
Moderate consumption of honeydew melons poses no danger for diabetics (GI 69, GL 5.7; read more about GI and GL in the article on watermelon).
Traditional medicine - naturopathy
Melons such as honeydew or cantaloupe have hydrating, remineralizing, alkalizing, diuretic and laxative effects thanks to their nutrients.8
It is best to consume locally grown honeydew that has shorter transport routes and a smaller ecological footprint than fruits that are sourced from overseas. But even with more regional melons, consumption should be moderate because they use up to 200 liters of water per kilogram.21 This is very problematic for countries where water is already scarce. In addition, the use of pesticides or fertilizers used in conventional agriculture has a bad effect on the environment, so organically produced melons are preferable to those from conventional agriculture. Organic farming does not use synthetic chemical pesticides or fertilizers that pollute groundwater and harm important pollinators such as honey bees.22
The origin of sugar melons is in Asia and not in East Africa, as has long been assumed. Humans have been growing melons for more than 4000 years.10
Today, sugar melons with their numerous varieties are cultivated in the tropics, subtropics and the Mediterranean region. China grows the most honeydew melons.11
Although the cultivated honeydew does not occur in the wild, wild varieties of the species Cucumis melo are known. Wild forms are found in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Rim and Australia.16 The Australian wild cucumber (Cucumis melo ssp. agrestis) is an example. The skin of the 4-5 cm long, thick fruit tastes bitter, but the flesh is sweet and cucumber-like; they are usually eaten cooked.
Cultivation - harvest
It is possible to grow honeydew in the garden or in a pot yourself. In addition to a sunny, warm and wind-protected location, soil that is particularly rich in nutrients and humus and sufficient water during the "growing period" are important. It is advisable to grow the transplants from the beginning of April. It is best to buy the seeds commercially, as many melons are hybrids and the seeds will not germinate or will not grow true to type. Plant the young plants in the greenhouse, bed or in a pot on the balcony or patio from mid-May. More constant temperatures can be achieved, for example, with a black foil over the ground (also reduces the emergence of weeds) or by growing in a poly tunnel (also gives wind protection). Regular watering (mainly in the evening), fertilizing and weeding contribute to good fruit development. If you plant honeydew melons in a pot, it should have a volume of at least 25 liters. The honeydew melon usually does not tolerate transplanting into larger containers. With good care, the initially green fruits thrive until autumn, with their skin color slowly changing to honey-yellow, depending on the variety.2 When the skin is brightly colored all over, the honeydew melon is ready for harvest. Some varieties exude a mild sweet scent. The skin of the melon gives slightly under slight pressure.14 Depending on the variety, honeydew melons can be stored well into the winter, which is why they are sometimes called winter melons.
Melons are assigned to the pumpkin family (Cucurbitaceae) and are considered fruits. These annual plants form climbing shoots several meters long. Basically, melons are divided into watermelons (species: Citrullus lanatus) and sugar melons (species: Cucumis melo). Botanically, muskmelons are more closely related to cucumbers (Cucumis) than to watermelons. Sugar melons include honeydew (or winter melons,18 Cucumis melo var. inodorus), cantaloupe (Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis) and reticulated melons (Cucumis melo var. reticulata). You can read more about the classification and overlaps in the latter varieties of the article on the ingredient cantaloupe.
The term honeydew is used for different types of melons, and this leads to misunderstandings. When used in a strict sense, honeydew refers to the Yellow Canary; when used more broadly, it refers to the variety Cucumis melo var. inodorus.18 Sometimes it even refers to the cantaloupe.18 The same phenomenon is observed with the English term honeydew (see below).
Honeydew is not as strongly scented as other cantaloupes: the Latin adjective inodorus means “unscented” or “odorless” and refers to the faint scent of the ripe fruit. The appearance of the different varieties and hybrids is diverse - there are differences in both skin color and pulp.
Melon Breeders continue to create new varieties: In the USA, for example, honeydew melons were bred with orange instead of greenish flesh (orange honeydew). The smooth skin of honeydew has an advantage over the rough skin of North American cantaloupe (cantaloupe) in terms of purification and adhesion of harmful microorganisms.13
The following Latin names correctly refer to honeydews: Cucumis melo var. inodorus H. Jacq., an older spelling (homotypic synonym) is Cucumis melo ssp. melo var. inodorus. The term Cucumis melo inodorus group is also common (heterotypic synonym), and this group also includes a commercial type of the sugar melon.17
The term winter melon is also used for the wax gourd (Benincasa hispida), which is mainly known as a vegetable in Asia.
The yellow-skinned honeydew is also known by the names yellow honeydew melon and yellow canary. The melons Amarillo and Tendral Amarillo are also yellow honeydews. The spellings honey melon or hinigmelone are incorrect.
The English terms honey dew (honeydew) and (more rarely) casaba melon can designate individual varieties or stand for the group of honeydew melons (winter melons) in general (Inodorus group).17,19,20 In English, the yellow honeydew is known as Canary, Canary melon (or winter melon), and is also known commercially as Juan Canary Melon or as Yellow Honeydew.
Many researchers do not believe that Wikipedia is an authoritative source. One reason for this is that the information about literature cited and authors is often missing or unreliable. Our pictograms for nutritional values provide also information on calories (kcal).
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USDA United States Department of Agriculture.
Perez V, Chang ET. Sodium-to-Potassium Ration and Blood Pressure, Hypertension, and Related Factors. Advances in Nutrition. 2014 Nov;5(6): 712-741.
Yuan R-Q, Qian L u.a. Cucurbitacins extracted from Cucumis melo L. (Cuec) exert a hypotensive effect via regulating vascular tone. Hypertens Res. August 2019;42(8): 1152–61.
Baia L da C, Baxmann AC, Moreira SR et al. Noncitrus alkaline fruit: a dietary alternative for the treatment of hypocitraturic stone formers. J Endourol. September 2012;26(9): 1221–6.
Pamplona Roger JD, Heilkräfte der Natur. Ein Praxisbuch. Zürich 2006: 240-241.
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Plantura.garden.de Honigmelone anpflanzen: Tipps zum Anbau im Garten & Topf.
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EG-Vermarktungsnorm für Melonen (und folgende Kapitel). In: Qualitätskontrolle - International. Ergebnisprotokoll der 23. Geisenheimer Tagung. 12.-14. Februar 2001. PDF.
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Perkins‐Veazie P, Beaulieu JC, Siddiq M. Watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew. In: Siddiq M, ed. Tropical and Subtropical Fruits. 1st ed. Wiley; 2012:549-568.
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Pacifico dSI, Oliveira FAS, Pedroza HP, Gadelha ICN, Melo MM, Soto-Blanco B. Pesticide exposure of honeybees (Apis mellifera) pollinating melon crops. Apidologie. 2015; 46: 703-715.