We could all agree that melons are the ultimate summer fruit and that we can not just get enough of it during the melon season.
It is everything that we want and more; it is juicy, fleshy and hard packed with a lot of dietary and health benefits.
It is rich in fiber, antioxidants, Vitamin A and C, potassium and has low carb and sugar content. And as if that is not already impressive, melons, in all their summer and juicy glory have more than 30 types and today, we will talk about the various types of melons.
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Some of them we already know and some, we will just meet today so keep the melon love burning and read on.
40 Types of Melons
1. Ananas Melon
If you are looking for an exotic flare, this melon will surely deliver with its sweet and a bit spicy taste.
It is considered as an old melon with its cultivation dating back to the 1800s. It has an oval shape, yellow/orange skin, netted with small, white rinds and looks like a small cantaloupe.
It has a star shaped seed well inside it, accompanied by yellow, juicy flesh likened to pineapples (by the way, ananas in French is pineapple). Its level of sweetness varies but the sweetest ones are harvested in warmer regions.
2. Apollo Melon
It has one of the most abundant water content along with having a sweet, fiberless textured flesh that is white in color with a dark brown top.
It is native to Malaysia and can be likened to Gold Langkawi melon but in a brighter shade of yellow close to Canary melon. Its tropical flare makes it perfect for salads, desserts and cold beverages.
3. Armenian Cucumber
This one is striking because although it is classified as melon, its taste and appearance are like cucumber.
It is considered as annual vine producing beautiful yellow flowers throughout the year in warmer climates and during the summer in colder regions.
The fruits are distinct because they are long and slender (not round and bulky). Its skin is pale green and its flesh is white, resembling the cucumber. It was cultivated mainly in Armenia, Egypt and the rest of Asia in as early as the 1400s.
4. Autumn Sweet Melon
It is round in shape, tiny, a golden yellow skin with white-green stripes from top to end and white, sugary sweet flesh. It is also watery albeit it size, making it a favorite for juices and smoothies.
It is called such because it ripens from mid-summer to fall. It is used in many traditional Taiwanese dishes where it is added in soups, candied or pickled as an appetizer.
5. Bailan Melon
It is also called as the Lanzhou honeydew melon because it is widely cultivated and is said to have been discovered in Lanzhou, China.
It is also considered as belonging to the honeydew family because it resembles them with their yellow/orange color, white rinds and nets as well as their yellow, juicy but no so sweet flesh.
In medicine, it is branded as a miracle fruit because it easily treats indigestion and cools body temperature fast.
6. Banana Melon
While it looks like a large banana on the outside, where it certainly gets its name, it actually looks like a cantaloupe inside with peach-orange flesh but well, lesser flesh. It has a unique savory taste but with the aroma of a banana.
Having been discovered in 1883, it has produced many seed catalogs with longer shelf life than most melons. It is highly cultivated in North America.
7. Bitter Melon
It is a very popular vegetable (not a fruit) in Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and Africa. It is said to have originated in India and is called pare in many countries around the world including Indonesia. It is not the usual round/oval melon.
It is elongated with dark green, wrinkly skin from top to bottom. It grows from a vine with a strikingly very bitter taste. It is used in soup dishes, salads and puree to treat digestive ailments.
8. Camouflage Melon
It comes by many names including Santa Claus/Christmas melon (because its harvest peak is December), frog skin melon and Piel de Sapo (which is the most accepted name because it originated from Spain) which literally translates to toad skin.
It is called such because it looks and smells like watermelon but tastes like honeydew. While it has green, smooth skin and brown flecks, it has a creamy white flesh that is not so sweet but perfect for cold beverages.
9. Canary Melon
This one is clustered within the group of inodorous musk melons along with honeydew and casabas. It gets its name from its bright canary yellow color. When it is not yet ripe, it is commonly mistaken as honeydew.
Its flesh has a pale green color and a tangier taste than other melons. It grows bigger than cantaloupes at ripe stage. They are present in most groceries year round because they have long shelf lives and are easy to transport.
10. Cantaloupe Melon
Did you know that there are two types of cantaloupe melon? One is the true cantaloupe or also known as the European cantaloupe because it was propagated in Cantalupo, Italy (hence, the name) as early as the 1700s. It is distinct with its gray-green skin with jagged white stripes.
The other one which is called the North American cantaloupe is native to Canada, North America and Mexico. It is known for its netted skin. Both however, have juicy, orange flesh so whichever goes is still perfect.
11. Casaba Melon
This one is another type of muskmelons. Although it can easily be compared to honeydews and cantaloupes because of its round shape and bright yellow color, with green rinds and a speck of green flecks.
It is in no way like them when it comes to taste and smell because one, it does not have a sweet taste, more like Asian pear or cucumber, and two, it does not have an aromatic smell. It also has a long shelf life like winter melon and is often used in cold soup and beverages, sorbet and smoothies.
12. Cassabanana Melon
It is one of those elongated melons that look more like cucumber or squash than actual melons.
It is native to South America, growing on vines under full sun and consistently warm climates.
Its color is purple in color (but also has yellow and orange varieties), smelling like melon but tasting like bananas (very unique in many ways). It is cooked as a vegetable when unripe and eaten raw as fruit when it is ripe.
13. Charentais Melon
It is considered as a refined cantaloupe variant said to have originated in France in the 1920s.
It comes in a round shape, light green skin with darker green stripes. On the inside, it has a bright orange, juicy flesh that is mildly sweet and an aromatic smell. At present, it is cultivated in selected places in North Africa and the United States.
14. Crane Melon
It is one of those early developed heirloom melons which originated in California in the 1900s. It got its name from Oliver Crane, the botanist who bred it.
It can be cultivated using various melon cultivars such as Ambrosian, Japanese and Persian melons, among others.
Being highly crossbred, it could taste differently and it is planted in specific soils with specific nutrient content, conditions and weather type. It is very rare with short shelf life making it unable to be commercially distributed.
15. Crenshaw Melon
This one is a hybrid between Persian melon and Casaba melon. It thrives on full sun making it widely cultivated in the Middle East, Mediterranean, South America and Midwest US.
It is distinguishable for its oval shape, very thick rinds and green or yellow ridges running through its length. It has a salmon pink flesh that is juicy and tasty but not that sweet and a whole cluster of seeds in the middle.
However, it has a short shelf life. It is best consumed one week after harvest. It is perfect for cold beverages including smoothies and sorbet and in salads or desserts.
16. Cucamelon (Melothria scabra)
While it is native to Mexico and Central America, this one is usually seen planted in family fruit gardens.
Interestingly, it grows in the vine and produces tiny, grape-like fruits (but slightly bigger, thus, considered as miniature watermelons). While it is juicy, its taste is like cucumber, hence, used as garnish in cocktails as a substitute for lime thanks to its tangy taste.
17. Gac Melon (Momordica cochinchinensis)
This melon was discovered botanically in Vietnam’s Cochinchina region, hence, its botanical name Momordica cochinchinensis.
They are distinct for their oval shape, small fruits (of about 5 inches only at mature phase) and their spiked rind that comes in orange or red color.
When you open it up, it has two edible portions inside: the yellow portion is the flesh while the red portion is the seed membrane. It lacks the sweetness of common melons making it taste like avocado and is used in curry or stew dishes in Asia.
18. Galia Melon
This one is a hybrid between cantaloupe and honeydew bred in Israel in 1970. As a result, this fruit has a netted skin, typically round and has a sweet and spicy taste. Its flesh is pale green in color but it is juicy which is the trademark of melons.
Like the watermelon, the skin of the galia melon will turn into a deep green color when it is ripe. It has more than 20 cultivars with Persian, Jenny Lind and Hami as the most popular.
19. Golden Langkawi Melon
It gets its name from its native land, the Langkawi region in Malaysia. It is also called the golden honeydew melon and has one of the shortest mature phases only taking 35 days before you can harvest it.
One would know that it would be ready for harvest when the yellow flowers appear and when the fruit turns from white to gold fruit. Unlike other melons with netted skins and stripes, it has smooth, all gold skin.
It has an elliptical shape, a crunchy fruit with high water content and very sweet taste. It is a good breakfast fruit and a good mix for overnight oats.
20. Golden Prize Melon
It has an oblong shape with very sturdy yet soft exterior. You can make tasty preserves out of it thanks to its thick skin that seems to preserve its bright orange and very sweet flesh.
It has a long shelf life making it one of the most cultivated melons and an export product of the United States, Central and South America and Mexico.
21. Hami Melon
It is a musk melon cultivated in China for over 700 years. It is considered as a variant of cantaloupe (actually resembling the cantaloupe very much) with its round/oval shape, netted skin, yellow/orange color but with sweeter orange flesh.
Unlike many melons which cannot be eaten when unripe, this one could actually be eaten two weeks before its harvest phase which will taste mildly sweeter like that of honeydew.
22. Honey Globe Melon
They are primarily cultivated in Southeast Asia. They come in more expensive prices because of its short harvesting time and its 20% sugar content (making it one of the sweetest melons).
It is called honey globe because of its almost perfect round shape with hard, white or white-green rinds. Its flesh is also white that is very juicy and soft in texture. It is also known for its beautiful golden orange flowers in the spring.
23. Honeydew Melon
This is an annual vine that is also sensitive to low temperatures. It is known for its smooth but waxy skin and rind which turns yellow when ripe.
Its pale green flesh can be eaten raw or dried.
Its seeds are also dried for tea, toasted as finger food or eaten raw.
They are commercially cultivated because although they have milder tastes, they are rich in Vitamins B and C and are known to have low calorie levels. Fun fact, it grows better when planted along with corn and sunflower.
24. Horned Melon
One of its unique characteristics that makes it a standout in the melon world is its horned, prickly skin.
It also goes by the name of kiwano melon known for its high nutrient profile which includes magnesium, antioxidants, and vitamins B, C and E. When you cut it open, you would find seeds infused in the fruit itself. It looks like green jelly that is why it is also nicknamed as jelly melon.
It tastes like a sweet vegetable with distinct sour undertones (similar to a cucumber or zucchini).
25. Jade Dew Melon
It is one of those small melons which only weighs up to 4pounds on its mature phase. It is visually striking with white-green color, crunchy and sweet flesh that has a creamy yellow color that is interestingly crunchy and sweet.
It is easy to grow and is essentially disease and pest resistant making it a favorite garden fruit.
26. Kantola Melon
It is also called as spiny gourd and thumba which is considered as more of a part of the gourd family than the melon family.
It tastes like the bitter melon and is distributed commercially as it is considered as a vegetable added in soups, stir-fry and curry dishes famous in India. It is also known for its high nutrient value as it is rich in Vitamin C, folate and fiber.
27. Korean Melon
It is more popularly known as the oriental melon. It’s both elongated and round, growing to only four inches maximum and weighs less than 3 pounds. Its skin is notable for its bright yellow color and white stripes.
While it is smaller than the usual melons, it is known for its creamy white and sweeter flesh that tastes like a crossover between honeydew and pear. It is difficult to harvest though because it has a softer skin that is prone to bruises and sunburns.
28. Maroon Cucumber (Cucumis anguria)
It is like a miniature watermelon with lime green spikes on its pale green skin. At first glance, it looks like a cactus and when you taste it, it would resemble a cucumber.
They grow from the vine and are widely cultivated in Central and South America including Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Venezuela. It is also an export product of the US grown particularly in Florida, Montana, California, Georgia, Oregon and New York, among others.
29. New Century Melon
While it is more cultivated in Taiwan now, this melon is also known as the Chinese Hami because it originated in the Hami region in northwestern China. It is loved for its juicy, orange-colored flesh with a measured sugar content of 14%.
While it is easy to grow because it is disease resistant and has minimum care requirements, you would be surprised that this melon is pricey and is usually served in high class hotels only.
30. Santa Claus Melon
It is also categorized under the inodorous musk melons. It is native to Spain where it also goes by the name Christmas melon because of its long shelf life from summer to Christmas.
It has a dark green skin and rinds and white, webbed stripes. It has a pale green to white flesh that is interestingly mild and sweet.
They could grow to up to 12 inches long at a rounded shape that could weigh to up to 30 pounds. They are widely cultivated and are exported by the US (mainly California), South America and Spain.
31. Select Rocket Melon
It is native to New Zealand but botanically, it was engineered to be a substitute of the sky rocket melon when it reached shortage in the late 90s.
Although not as popular as the sky rocket, it is still widely propagated because of its crunchy and sweet flesh.
32. Sky Rocket Melon
A white-green or yellow-green, round and webbed melon, this one only takes 65 days to mature and harvest. It originated in New Zealand as an engineered breed (but not considered a hybrid).
It has a flesh that is both crunchy and chewy. You will find fruit gardens in many regions in the Pacific and in the US with seeds widely sold in the gardening websites.
33. Snap Melon
It is an annual vine native to Asia known for being sensitive to winter or cold climates. It is widely cultivated outdoors in tropical climates but is kept indoors in a pot or in greenhouses where temperatures drop to freezing level.
It reproduces asexually with the help of insects. Distinctly, it has an oval shape, a smooth, striped skin and a sour flesh used as herbal medicine in relieving minor cuts and burns.
34. Sprite Melon
It is also called as the Japanese melon having originated in Japan. It looks like a cantaloupe with the same round shape, color and seed arrangement inside. But unlike it, it does not have a netted skin.
It is also ivory colored with brown markings that suggests that it is ready for harvest instead of the cantaloupe yellow/orange color. It is also one of the sweetest melon types available with 35% sugar content.
35. Sugar Melon
It is called as such because although it is very small, it is juicy and has 14% sugar content. It has a striking silver-gray, ribbed skin.
It is considered as the candy melon with a distinct orange, creamy textured flesh. It is an export fruit product of Texas and cultivated to make preserves and seed oil.
36. Ten Me Melon
It is the most expensive melon out there. It is webbed with a smooth, pale yellow colored skin when it is ripe and an unrivaled tender, sweet and fragrant flesh grown in selected regions only. It is commonly served in five-star hotels in sorbets and salads.
37. Valencia Melon
It has a striking melon profile with its dark, forest green and webbed skin and creamy white, tender flesh.
It is cultivated not only for its creamy, sweet taste with gingery undertones but also because of its long shelf life that could be stored up until winter. While it originated in Italy, it is also now cultivated for commercial distribution in China, France and Algeria.
The most popular of all the melon types, this fruit is known for its high water content making it a go-to smoothie, slushy and just an all-around food for the summer. It is one of the most cultivated fruits around the world with almost 1,200 known cultivars.
They are native to Africa and Asia but they have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years (talk about ancient!).
It is also the perfect fruit for a thriving tropical garden as it is low maintenance and it is also known as a high yielding fruit with a maturity age of 90 days after planting.
Read also: Growing and harvesting watermelon
39. Winter Melon
No it is not your boba/milk tea flavor. There really is such a fruit called winter melon. It got its name from being a winter survivor although its harvest season is summer. Thanks to its waxy skin, the longevity of the fruit lasts until winter.
They look like watermelons with their round/oval shape and dark green skin but also like zucchini or squash because of their white stripes. In Chinese cuisine, it is a favorite stir-fry ingredient. It is also candied or pickled granting it its other name, Chinese pickling melon.
40. Yubari melon
The Yubari is a rare Japanese melon cultivar grown only in Hokkaido. They are very expensive because aside from being rare, they have a distinct, prized sweetness and a perfect round shape.
Its orange flesh is graded for its sweetness after harvest and are categorized before distribution. Those that do not make the cut because they are not sweet enough or are too sweet will not be sold commercially.
To conclude, melons are more than what meets the eye and the mouth of course.
For the ordinary melon lover, waiting for the summer to take peak and lurking around grocery stores and farm markets for an everyday stash, cantaloupes and watermelons are hard to miss. But that is not entirely the case now because turns out, we have more than twenty melon types to want to try in the coming years.
So what is there not to love about melons? None. It is the perfect fruit pick, anytime, anywhere.
- Melons: Why We Love These Summer Fruits. Link
- 5 Side Effects of Melons That You May Not Have Known. Link
- Yubari King Melon. Link