By Suzanne Macguire
Historically speaking, melons have long been a part of our diet in one form or another. Available in different varieties, melons are a top favorite not only with Americans, but also in other countries—the chief reason being their categorization as a fruit-cum-vegetable. This perplexity also pertains to their history. Food historians fluctuate between Persia, Afghanistan or Armenia as the probable locales where melons were first consumed. China is not the best bet among historians, as many believe the Chinese consumed the wild bitter variety, which could not be eaten raw. Melons were introduced in Europe in the 16th century but were grown under glass bells, glasshouses or in steam pits.
Meanwhile, after reaching China, melons slowly began to develop into cooking varieties and reached the New World when Columbus took the seeds to Haiti on his second voyage. When his men had eaten the fruit and discarded the seeds, huge acres of crop appeared all over.
Honeydew is one of the most savored varieties of melons, especially for Americans. Ancient Egyptians—thousands of years ago and ages before that in Persia, where the muskmelon is thought to have originated—prized this sweet, succulent member of the muskmelon family.
Luckily for Americans, honeydew melons are now grown in California and parts of the Southwest. This nutritious fruit snack is rich in vitamin C and a great source of foliate, which is known for its power to help prevent birth defects during pregnancy. A cup of honeydew yields just 60 calories and around 70% of our body’s daily requirement of vitamin C. Its ample water content also compensates for loss of body water during hot summer days. Low in sodium and nil in fat and cholesterol, honeydew melons offer 100% of the critical energy component found in functional foods. These nutritional advantages make it an ideal choice for both weight control and general health. This juicy melon also offers resistance against cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.
With so many nutritional benefits, honeydew melons have become a fruit favorite, especially in the U.S. It's essential, however, to judge the quality of the fruit prior to its purchase. Honeydew melons are distinguished by their smooth, creamy-yellow rind and pastel green flesh, which is amazingly succulent and juicy. A perfectly ripe honeydew melon can be judged by wrinkling on the surface, often detected only by touch.
Ranging in weight from 4 to 8 pounds, honeydew melons need to be picked judiciously. It’s important to choose only those melons that are too heavy for their size. If the melon is underripe, it is advisable to keep it at room temperature. Ripe honeydew melons can be wrapped in plastic bags and stored in the refrigerator for five days. This wonderful melon treat can be used in salads, desserts, fruit soups or as a garnish. The common and the best among the winter melon varieties, honeydew can be savored in different forms as part of your low-calorie, healthful diet.
Suzanne Macguire is an Internet marketing professional with expertise in content development and technical writing in a variety of industries. She prepared this article on behalf ofSundia Corp., a leading producer of fresh melons and juices.
Editor’s Note: Don’t miss OrganicAuthority Publisher Laura Klein’s recipe for Chilled Organic Melon Champagne Soup.