Types of Melons – Complete Guide 2021

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types of melon

Melons are such a fun fruit. They have thick skin that makes the inside a bit of a mystery. Sometimes, you’re just not sure what you will get. Our guide to the different types of melons will help you understand what you’re picking and what you can expect from the fruit.

What types of melons are there?

There are hundreds of different types of melons. They exist all over the world but primarily grow in hot, tropical climates.

While most melons are sweet in flavor, there are many types that have a bitter taste and some even have spicy notes.

Melons come in all different sizes, colors, and textures, so it’s always neat to compare the different varieties.

Different Types of Melons

different types of melon

Honeydew Melon

A popular favorite in the United States, honeydew melons have a refreshing flavor that is mildly sweet. They have a pale green skin and pale green flesh with seeds in the center.

Honeydew melons are ready to eat in the late summer or early fall. Their seeds can actually be eaten raw, or toasted if you prefer.

Like most melons, honeydews are rich in vitamins. They are a great source of vitamin C and vitamin B.

Ananas

Ananas melons are a great fruit to try if you like a mixture of sweet and spicy. These melons love the heat and if they are grown in especially warm climates, their sweetness increases. Ananas melons also have a bit of spice to them which is unusual for melons.

Originally from the Middles East, ananas melons are now grown in other areas of the world with similar hot climates. The melons are oval-shaped and have white netting around their orange skin.

Cantaloupe (European)

There are two main varieties of cantaloupes and the “true” type is referred to as European. It was crafted in Italy in the 1700s.

European cantaloupes are distinguished by their gray-green skin and their white stripes. Inside you will find an orange flesh that is quite sweet.

Cantaloupe (American)

Next to watermelon, American cantaloupes are the second most popular melons in the United States. Unlike their European cousins, this version was adapted to grow in warmer regions of the country.

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American cantaloupes also have a grey-green skin with deep green stripes coming from the stem area. The inside boasts bright orange flesh.

Cantaloupes have a small section of seeds in the middle of their fruit that should be cut around. They are a very sweet fruit and are often eaten in the morning or with a fruit salad.

Sky Rocket Melon

Sky Rocket melons have their origin in New Zealand but some farmers in the United States also grow them. These melons are white and green in color with a soft webbing all over the skin.

They are sweet tasting and a rare treat when you can find them. They are incredibly rich in vitamins and minerals.

Hami Melon

Hami melons have been around for over 700 years, having originated in China. They are similar to cantaloupes although they have a longer, more oval shape.

These melons are sweet when ripe although if they are not ripe enough, this sweetness can really be altered and you might find yourself with some really sour melons.  

Hami melons are traditionally eaten at breakfast and are a great way to start the day with a little burst of fresh sweetness.

Golden Prize Melon

As you may have guessed, Golden Prize melons are indeed a golden yellow color. They are also oblong-shaped.

Beyond the thick skin of Golden Prize melons, you will find bright orange flesh that is incredibly sweet. The thickness of the skin helps preserve the inner fruit, so that it won’t bruise or rot easily.

Golden Langkawi Melon

Golden Langkawi melons let you know all their important details right in their names. They are golden yellow in color and are named after the region they originated, Langkawi, Malaysia.

These melons resemble honeydew melons. They are rich in flavor and refreshingly sweet.

As Golden Langkawi melons ripen, their skin changes from white to yellow. This is a nice sign that they are ready to eat.

Sprite Melon

Sprite melons have nothing to do with the popular soda variety, although they are nice and sweet. These melons come from Japan and are a cousin to the honeydew melons.

Sprite melons are incredibly sweet. Some say they may be one of the sweetest melons available.

They are popular in North Carolina and can be found at local farmer’s markets.

Kantola Melon

While some melons are as large as your head, Kantola melons can fit inside the palm of your hand. They are sometimes known as spiny gourds because of their appearance.

Kantola melons have a green skin with small spikes on the outside. They taste quite bitter but are extremely high in vitamins and minerals so they often used in cooking.

Popular dishes for Kantola melons include curries and stews. They are often used in Indian cooking.

Winter Melon

While winter melons are actually ripe in the summer, they have an incredibly long shelf life and so can be enjoyed in the winter.

This amazing preservation power is due to their waxy skin. It protects the winter melon, keeping the inside flesh firm and ripe.

Winter melons don’t have much of a taste and instead are used as a vegetable and are popular in stir-fries. They grow to be quite large and are frequently over 40 pounds.

Horned Melon

Horned melons may not have horns on them but they do have spikes. Small in size, horned melons are primarily seeds with only a small layer of flesh inside.

These seeds inhabit a green, jelly-like substance that is edible. It might look a bit funky but it does taste good.

Horned melons do have a sweet taste to them but it is quite subdued so that they taste more like vegetables.

New Century Melon

New Century melons come from Taiwan but are a relative of the Chinese hami melons. They have a bright orange flesh that is easy to bite right into.

New Century melons have a very high sugar percentage of 14%. This makes them incredibly sweet.

Another nice feature of New Century melons is that they are resistant to diseases. This makes them a favorite among farmers.    

Ten Me Melon

You probably have not tasted a Ten Me melon and for good reason. They are incredibly expensive and hard to find.

Ten Me melons are a bright, pale yellow in color. Their taste is incredibly fresh and sweet, making it a treat that is worth paying for.

If you really want to try these melons, their seeds are readily available and you could plant them in your own garden. Just make sure you live in a warm enough climate.

Canary Melon

Canary melons are named after the shade of their skin, which is a bright yellow color. They are similar to honeydew melons and often get mistaken for them.

The taste of canary melons is a nice mix of sweetness and tanginess. Their flesh is pale green and as it ripens, it becomes softer.

Canary melons are mainly grown in South America and Asia. They are popular in fruit salads and you will often find them in international grocery stores as they have a long shelf life.

Apollo melon

Apollo melons make for a refreshing treat and will quickly hydrate you. They have a very large water content which makes them taste very refreshing.

These melons originated from Malaysia. They like to grow in hot, humid climates.

Apollo melons have a bright orange color while the inner flesh is white. They are sweet and juicy.

Galia Melon

Relatively new to the scene, Galia melons were not cultivated until the 1970s. They were created in Israel and are a hybrid between a honeydew melon and a cantaloupe.

Galia melons have a yellow rind that is netted with white ridges. Inside you will find a pale green flesh with a small center full of seeds.

These melons are sweet with a slight bit of spiciness to the taste. The flesh is also a nice texture, with a subtle firmness to it.

Autumn Sweet Melon

Cute in appearance, Autumn sweet melons are a golden yellow color and are about the size of your fist. Inside they have a bold white flesh.

Autumn sweet melons are nice and sweet. They have a large water content which makes them especially juicy when you cut into them.

While you can eat these melons fresh, their extra juiciness makes them a favorite for home-pressed juice.  

Casaba Melon

Unique in appearance, casaba melons have a bold yellow color and are quite large and round. They have thick ridges that run along their skin.

Casaba melons are not very sweet and actually resemble a cucumber in taste, or even an Asian pear. The pale green flesh is often used raw and makes a great addition to smoothies and even ice cream.

Casaba melons have a long shelf life and are part of a group of melons called winter melons because even though they are ripe in the summer, they are still edible in the winter.

Santa Claus Melon

If you’re looking for a new Christmas tradition, you could always try incorporating Santa Claus Melons in your Christmas morning breakfast. While these melons are ripe in summer, they have an incredibly long shelf life, lasting for many months, which is why they are sometimes called Christmas melons.

Santa Claus melons are very large, and usually measure 12 inches in length. They have a yellow-green skin and pale green flesh.

Taste-wise, Santa Claus melons have a nice, sweet taste to them that isn’t overwhelming. They are native to Spain but are grown in other similar warm climates.

Valencia Melon

Valencia melons come from Italy and closely resemble honeydew melons. They are very sweet in taste with underlying notes of ginger.

These melons are a winter variety, meaning even though they are ripe in the summer, they are hardy enough to still be edible in the winter. Valencia melons are resistant to most insects and don’t rot easily, making them a favorite among farmers.

Sugar Melon

Sugar melons look like miniature cantaloupes. They have a nice, green skin to them and bright orange flesh.

These melons have a 14% sugar content, which is not only reflected in their name but in their extremely sweet taste. You probably don’t want to eat too much of these melons as their sweetness can be overwhelming.

Sugar melons are very popular in the United States. They are commonly grown in Texas and can be found at most grocery stores.

Bitter Melon

Resembling a very warty cucumber, bitter melons are treated more as a vegetable than a fruit. They are primarily used in India and southeast Asia but are often grown in tropical locations such as East Africa, South America, and the Caribbean.

Bitter melons have a bitter taste to them, hence the name. They can aid in digestion so are frequently used in cuisine.

Jade Dew Melon

Jade Dew melons are a lovely, dewy melon that has a fresh taste to them. They have a subtle white skin with green coloring throughout.

Inside the fruit is flesh that is a soft yellow color. These melons have a crunchy texture and a nice, sweet taste to them.

Banana Melon

No, this isn’t a banana, but it is a melon. Banana melons can look like large bananas, which is where their name comes from.

Inside banana melons, you will find peach-colored flesh that is a mixture of sweet and spiciness. You may even be able to detect a subtle aroma of bananas.

Banana melons were developed in the United States in the 1880s and have since found a small foothold the melon world.

Crane Melon

Crane melons were named after their namesake, Oliver Crane. He created a hybrid melon, bringing the best from other varieties including ambrosia and Persian melons.

Crane melons are very rare. They need specific growing areas to get just the right taste so you won’t be able to find them in just any grocery store.

However, Crane melons are often grown in backyard gardens as their seeds are readily available.

Watermelon

Perhaps the most famous of them all, watermelon is a juicy treat perfect for those long summer afternoons. Watermelons are native to Africa and different varieties are grown there, with sizes ranging from 5 to 50 pounds.

Watermelons get their name from the fact that over 90% of the fruit is actually water. This makes them a refreshing and hydrating treat.

China grows the most amount of watermelons but other countries, including the United States, Brazil, and Turkey also grow a lot.

Casabanana

You’re forgiven if you mistake casabanana melons for cucumbers. They are long, narrow, and look more like a squash than a melon.

However, casabanana melons do fall in the melon category. They smell like melons but have a taste that slightly resembles bananas, which is reflected in their name.

Casabanana melons can also be a purple variety and these can look more similar to eggplants.

Honey Globe Melon

Honey globe melons are not commonly eaten in North America for many reasons. They are grown in Southeast Asia and have a very short growing season. As a result, it is hard to harvest them and so the high price of honey globe melons reflects the time and resources it takes to produce them.

They are extremely sweet and have a sugar content of 20%, one of the highest numbers in all melons. Outside, their skin is white with a few green markings and inside the flesh is white and juicy.

Charentais Melon

Charentais melons came about when a French grower wanted to make a more sophisticated version of the cantaloupe. These melons have an orange skin with webbing and green stripes that are spaced out.

Charentais melons are sweet and nice smelling. They are primarily grown in North Africa, although there are a few places in the United States where they also grow.

Bailan Melon

Bailan melons originated from China and are often referred to as Lanzhou melons, from the city they were first grown in. They are now grown all over, including France and Algeria.

They are bright yellow in color with white flesh inside. Bailan melons are similar to honeydew melons and have a crisp, sweet flavor.

If you’re looking for help in digestion, these melons have been noted to help. They also have a high water content and can keep you hydrated.

Maroon Cucumber

Maroon cucumbers are quite the sight to behold. They are small, green, and have plenty of spikes. Their coloring is similar to watermelons but they are much, much smaller.

These melons originated in Africa but are now grown in other warm climates around the world. Maroon cucumbers get their name because they taste similar to cucumbers.

Crenshaw Melon

A hybrid variety, Crenshaw melons are a mix of casaba melons and Persian melons. They are grown all over the world, including North America, South America, and the Middle East.

Crenshaw melons are oval-shaped and weigh about 10 pounds. They have pale green skin and peach-colored flesh.

Taste-wise, Crenshaw melons are sweet and juicy. Unfortunately, these melons only have a shelf life of about 10 days, so it is hard to come by them.

Cucamelon

Cucamelons are incredibly adorable. They are miniature in appearance, with a size smaller than an apple.

Cucamelons are quite interesting. From the outside, they look like mini watermelons thanks to their dark green skin. However, taste-wise, they resemble cucumbers.

These melons can also be a bit sour and may even resemble pickles. They are grown in Mexico and Central America.

Korean Melon

It can take a lot of effort to produce and eat Korean melons, but they are worth it. To start with, the outer skin is quite soft. It can easily bruise or be damaged by the sun.

However, if you can properly grow these melons, you will be rewarded by the taste. They have a sweet taste that isn’t too overpowering. Many people compare them to pears or honeydew melons.

Select Rocket Melon

Select Rocket Melons share a lot of similarities with Sky Rocket melons. They are in fact produced from this variety.

While Select Rocket melons have their origins in New Zealand, they are now grown all over the world. They are tasty and sweet.

Gac Melon

Gac melons have an outer defense that is quite impressive. Their oval shape is punctuated by multiple spikes that may have you deciding to leave it alone, rather than taste it.

Inside the melon, you will find two areas of the fruit. This includes a yellow, fruit part, and a red seed membrane. Both sections are edible.

Unfortunately, gac melons don’t have a lot of flavor to them. They aren’t sweet and instead are used in curries or stews.

What is the best type of melon?

best type of melon

Really, there are no bad types of melons, and therefore all are good melons. Watermelon, cantaloupes, and honeydew melons are the most popular in North America.

However, there are many varieties around the world that are also great. Kantola melons and bitter melons are rich in nutrients and make a great addition to savory cooking.

Whenever you’re travelling, be sure to look for local melon varieties to sample.

Which is the sweetest melon?

The sweetest melon is the honey globe melon. It has a sugar content of 20% which is incredibly high. The juicy flesh is hidden inside a hard, thick rind.

However, you might not be able to taste this sweet treat as honey globe melons are only ripe for a short window, making them hard to cultivate and expensive to purchase.

Sprite melons are also very sweet. They are popular in North Carolina and easy to find there in the summer.

Conclusion

While most melons are a sweet treat from nature, some have a bitter taste to them. They are small, large, and some even have spikes on their skin. Whichever melon you decide to try, you’re in for a treat.

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