Honeydew melons are related to cantaloupes, casaba and Persian melons. Honeydews are used to accompany meat, seafood, and cheese. They are also used in salads, desserts, and fruit soups.
Honeydew is a cultivar group of the muskmelon, Cucumis melo Inodorus group, which includes crenshaw, casaba, Persian, winter, and other mixed melons.
A honeydew has a round to slightly oval shape, typically 15–22 cm (5.9–8.7 in) long. It generally ranges in weight from 1.8 to 3.6 kg (4.0 to 7.9 lb). The flesh is usually pale green in color, while the smooth peel ranges from greenish to yellow. Like most fruit, honeydew has seeds. Honeydew’s thick, juicy, sweet flesh is often eaten for dessert, and is commonly found in supermarkets across the world. This fruit grows best in semiarid climates and is harvested based on maturity, not size. Maturity can be hard to judge, but is based upon ground color ranging from greenish white (immature) to creamy yellow (mature). Quality is also determined by the honeydew having a nearly spherical shape with a surface free of scars or defects. Also, a honeydew should feel heavy for its size and have a waxy (not fuzzy) surface.
When cut open, the seeds and soft flesh are discarded. Honeydew is primarily eaten fresh, seeded, and often cut into thin slices or small chunks. Its flesh, sweetest on the innermost cavity, makes a refreshingly cool addition to the end of the meal. The flesh is often added to salads, or becomes a principle ingredient in chilled soups, mixed drinks, liqueurs, sangrias, or other cool or cold dishes.
Honeydew doesn’t cook well. Heat breaks down the flesh and leaves a mushy result that is not appealing. When cold, less than sweet melons are enhanced by a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, as are overly sweet melons.
Quite often, a melon-baller — a scoop that creates small balls of melon flesh, is used with honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon and crenshaws to create a melon salad. Some creative mixologists use these for making cocktails or sangrias. The melon flesh freeze well for short periods. Thus the melonballs can be used not only to flavor a drink, but to chill it.
The Chinese carve honeydews to create delightful, artistic works that garnish banquet spreads.