Mad About Melons

Aah ... summer's delight. Cool, crisp melon. Slice off a juicy wedge. Slurp it alone, or combine it with other fresh ingredients that complement the season of sun and shine.
Is it ripe?

The perfectly ripe watermelon.

Thumping melons will leave you in the dark. Instead, come into the light and look for the following characteristics when selecting melons.

A watermelon should have smooth skin with an even pale to dark green rind that has a creamy yellow area on the underside. The shape should be symmetrical. Avoid fruit with soft ends. If you buy a cut piece, the flesh should look firm, brightly colored, and juicy. Avoid pieces with white streaks, holes, cracks, or a mealy appearance.

Cantaloupe is ripe when the blossom end gives to slight pressure. The melon should have a sweetly aromatic scent. If there is a strong smell, the melon is overripe. If you're buying cut melon, look for a deep apricot color inside -- the deeper the color, the sweeter the taste.

Honeydew melon, when ripe, should have a creamy white to pale yellow rind. If the rind has a green cast, it is unripe. The meat inside may be green, gold, orange, or pink, depending on the variety.

Continued on page 2:  Recipes