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How to tell if honeydew is ripe

Have you ever caught yourself standing in front of the honeydew at the grocery store and thinking about how to tell if honeydew is ripe? You aren’t alone.

Knowing what to look for when buying a ripe honeydew will save you from cutting into it and ended up with hard not very flavorful honeydew.

Let’s go over what it should look like, smell like, and feel like so you can feel confident cutting into it and be able to enjoy this juicy fruit at its best.

A bowl with cut up honeydew on a napkin with a spoon laying next to it.

How to tell if honeydew is ripe by its rind, smell, and feeling the button end. The rind should be a light yellow. It will have a fruity sweet smell at the stem and the opposite end of the stem will be somewhat soft with giving when you push on it.

3 easy ways to tell if honeydew is ripe

Once honeydew is picked it doesn’t actually ripen anymore. However, it will get softer and juicier as time goes on. So it is important to find a ripe one from the get-go.

You can tell by looking at the rind, feeling it, and giving it the good old sniff test. Let’s go over the signs of ripe honeydew.

1. Yellow rind

You want to make sure that your honeydew has a nice creamy yellow color to it. A lot of people think it should have a green hew but that is actually a sign of an unripe honeydew.

Look over the honeydew for any cuts or major bruising. Chances are you will have soggy bad spots on the inside when it looks beat up on the outside.

2. Pick it up

Ripe honeydew will feel heavy for its size and should have a smooth rind. A cool little tip to know if it is ripe is to push on the opposite end from the stem and push in a little.

If it is ripe you will feel a little give, almost spongy but not so much so that you can push through it. Just a little springy.

You can also knock on it listening for a solid thud. If it sounds hollow then it isn’t ripe and was probably picked too early.

3. Sweet fruity smell

The same spot that we pushed on, the springy round spot on the bottom will give off a sweet smell if the honeydew is ripe. It smells almost like it will taste.

If you don’t smell anything then you want to look for another one. The same goes for if you smell mildew or mold at all.

How to ripen honeydew

As I said before, honeydew can’t ripen any more once it has been picked but there are a few ways to help it to get a little softer and juicier before it goes bad.

Wrap the honeydew in a newspaper or put it into a paper bag out on the counter. This will hold in the ethylene gas that fruits naturally produce.

Ethylene is a gas that fruits give off and when they are put next to each other they soften the fruits around them and help to make them more “ripe”.

To really speed it up you can stick a banana or apple in with the honeydew to create even more ethylene around the honeydew. If you aren’t in a rush you can always just let the honeydew sit in the fruit basket with the other fruits and it will ripen that way also.

Storing honeydew in the fridge will slow this process. So if you aren’t going to eat it within a few days you will want to keep it chilled.

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