Market Guide to Marvelous Melons

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The melon that Americans call cantaloupe—the most popular melon in the United States— is actually a muskmelon. True cantaloupe comes from Europe and has a rough, warty surface quite unlike the netted rind of our familiar fruit.


Skin color is the best clue to ripeness when choosing a whole casaba. Unlike most other melons, it has no aroma.


A hybrid between a casaba and a Persian melon, the oblong crenshaw can weigh up to 10 pounds


This large melon averages five to six pounds; with white, smooth rind.

Juan Canary

It is oblong in shape and has white flesh tinged with pink around the seed cavity.


This melon resembles cantaloupe, except that it is slightly larger, the rind is greener, and the netting is finer.

Santa Claus

Also called Christmas melon (because it peaks in December). About a foot long.


Sharlyn tastes like a cross between a cantaloupe and a honeydew.


There are more than 50 varieties of watermelon. Generally, they are divided into "picnic" and "ice-box" varieties. Picnic types usually weigh 12 to 50 pounds. Ice-box varieties—designed to fit a into refrigerator—weigh 5 to 10 pounds and are round or oval.