A Dietitian's Take On Your Favorite Seasonal Melons
by Anna Smith, MS, RDN, LDN
Last Updated: September 16, 2020
No meal is complete without fresh cut melon. If you’re like most, melon has captured the love of your taste buds - and for a good reason.
Melon is a fruit, and therefore relatively low in calories, containing approximately 60 calories per serving. It is fat-free, cholesterol-free, and sodium-free, making melon a heart-healthy snack choice for everyone. Just like vegetables, the vibrant color in fruit indicates the volume of nutrients. Watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew, are great sources of immune supporting vitamin C, and watermelon and cantaloupe are also rich in vitamin A, which promote healthy eyesight. Cantaloupe packs one additional benefit with its high folate content, making it a great snack for anyone, but especially expecting moms.
Melons are readily available in grocery stores year-round due to the ability to source from other countries. Here in the US, melons are typically grown in both Arizona and California from April to October, with the peak season in July. You can find melon in the produce section of grocery stores in its whole form or precut options. The cost saving trick with melon is to purchase it whole and cut it yourself. How do you know if a melon is ripe? To pick a ripe melon of any variety, search for one that is symmetrical and heavy when lifted. In addition:
- Watermelon should contain dried stems and yellowish undersides.
- Cantaloupe should be fragrant with no bruises.
- Honeydew should have a waxy surface with no soft spots.
All varieties of melon, in their whole form, can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days when you bring them home from the grocery store. Once cut, store all melon in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Eat your cantaloupe and watermelon within 5 days and honeydew within 2 weeks. If you are not able to eat it quick enough, think about freezing it to add into a smoothie or to flavor your water.
Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.