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20 Types of Melons (with Pictures)

Fresh cantaloupe at the local farmers market

Melons are many people’s favorite dessert during summer. Some people may not be aware that there are countless varieties of melons, some of which you can easily find in stores, and some that are fairly rare. Each type has unique characteristics and a unique taste, and to find out the most popular varieties read the article below. We have listed the most interesting varieties that are adored and used worldwide.

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The 20 Types of Melons

1. Watermelon

watermelon plant
Image Credit: Deemcat, Pixabay
Scientific name: Citrullus lanatus
Origin: Africa
Characteristics: Pink, extremely sweet flesh
Uses: Eaten raw, in fruit salads, and as juice

Watermelons are one of the most common fruity desserts during summer. They are adored worldwide for their sweetness and refreshing taste. Healthy watermelons ready for consumption must have a deep green surface and, once tapped, will have a hollow sound.


2. Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe in Farmhouse
Image Credit: Tavarius, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis
Origin: The Middle East and India
Characteristics: Firm orange flesh with a sweet but tender taste
Uses: Eaten raw, in salads, cocktails, or sorbet

Cantaloupe is another common favorite refreshment during hot days, consumed in various shapes and recipes. These unique fruits have a firm, creamy texture and are not as watery as watermelons. The healthiest cantaloupes will have a tan color with soft green lines.


3. Honeydew Melon

Honeydew melon
Image Credit: Dennis, Pixabay
Scientific name: Cucumis melo L. ‘Honey Dew’
Origin: Middle East
Characteristics: Pale green flesh with an extremely sweet taste
Uses: Eaten raw, in fruit salads, in frozen yogurts, smoothies, cocktails

Honeydews are some of the sweetest melons on the market, available from June through October. This fruit is excellent in combination with different salads, smoothies, and cocktails. Look for a Honeydew melon with a creamy yellow color and a smooth surface.


4. Bitter Melon

Bitter melon
Image Credit: Paresh85, Pixabay
Scientific name: Momordica charantia
Origin: Asia and Africa
Characteristics: Watery, crunchy, and extremely bitter
Uses: Raw or cooked in dishes

Bitter melons carry a name that explains their prominent feature best. Due to their bitter flavor, they are mainly used as a vegetable or paired with other, sweeter fruits. Besides being used in various meals and dishes, this fruit has incredible immunity-boosting qualities.


5. Winter Melon

Winter melon
Image Credit: Photo Win1, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Benincasa hispida
Origin: South Asia
Characteristics: Thick white flesh with a mild taste
Uses: Cooked in stews, soups, and stir-fried dishes

Winter melons are another example of melons that lack recognizable sweetness and instead carry a mild aroma. These melons are mainly used as vegetables, cooked with stir-fries, soups, and chicken. It has incredible health benefits, such as improving digestion and boosting energy.


6. Korean Melon

Korean melon
Image Credit: allybally4b, Pixabay
Scientific name: Cucumis melo var. Makuwa
Origin: Korea
Characteristics: White crunchy flesh, sweet
Uses: Raw or cooked

The Korean melon is a fruit with excellent health benefits, especially for cardiovascular conditions, because of its low sodium and high potassium levels. It originates from East Asian countries, hence the name.


7. Canary Melon

sliced Canary melon
Image Credit: MK photograp55, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Cucumis melo L. ‘Canary’
Origin: Asia
Characteristics: Soft, pale-green flesh with a sweet flavor
Uses: Eaten raw, and in fruit salads

Canary melons have an easily recognizable bright yellow surface with a smooth surface. They have an extremely sweet taste making them an adored dessert across Asia and South America and popular even for breakfasts. Unlike their appearance and mealy flesh, they are a fruit with low calories and fat levels, with high fiber and vitamin content.


8. Ambrosia Melon

Scientific name: Cucumis melo ‘Ambrosia’
Origin: Western Asia
Characteristics: Very sweet
Uses: Eaten raw as a dessert or cooked with meats and cheeses

The Ambrosia melon is quite similar to a common Cantaloupe, although it has a much sweeter taste. Because of its unique sweetness, it is most commonly used in fruit salads and desserts. However, it also pairs perfectly with salty meals, such as chicken and cheese.


9. Horned Melon

Horned melon
Image Credit: RitaE, Pixabay
Scientific name: Cucumis metuliferus
Origin: Africa
Characteristics: Light green flesh, with a jelly-like texture and a slightly sweet but mild taste
Uses: Eaten raw, in fruit salads, smoothies, or sundaes

One entirely different-looking melon is the horned melon, also known as the Kiwano. This fruit has a cartoony and scary look, with horns growing on its entire surface. Unlike its appearance, the taste of a ripe horned melon is quite similar to a banana, and when not ripe, it will taste like a cucumber.


10. Crenshaw Melon

Scientific name: Casaba x Persian
Origin: Turkey
Characteristics: A cross cultivar of Casaba and Persian melons; sweet orange flesh
Uses: Eaten raw as fruit dessert, in salads, smoothies, and sorbet

Although the Crenshaw melon is a hybrid of the Casaba and Persian melon, it combines some of the best features of both varieties. The fruit is tender and juicy, with a lovely sweet taste, making it excellent to consume raw. It can also be a perfect addition to cocktails, fruit salads, and smoothies.


11. Persian Melon

Persian Melon
Image Credit: Brett_Hondow, Pixabay
Scientific name: Cucumis melo
Origin: The Persian Empire, Iran
Characteristics: Similar to a cantaloupe but larger and with a milder flavor
Uses: Eaten raw as a fruit

The Persian melon carries a charming look with its elongated form and smooth yellow skin. While these melons may resemble Cantaloupes, they are much larger and have a milder flavor. These fruits carry excellent health benefits, such as being free of fat and cholesterol, with high levels of vitamins A and C.


12. Charentais Melon

Charentais melon hiding among follage
Image Credit: ItsAngela, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis
Origin: France
Characteristics: Bright orange flesh, with intense flavor and aroma
Uses: Eaten raw, alone or with ham, or served with wine

The Charentais melon originates from France. However, it is mostly produced in North Africa. This fruit is unique for its intense fragrance and taste, making it used in many dishes with ham and other meats. In some regions of France, people consider it a specialty to drink wine straight from the Charentais melon.


13. Snap Melon

Scientific name: Cucumis melo momordica
Origin: Asia
Characteristics: Sour and bitter taste
Uses: Best combined with other sweet melons, sweet fruit, or sugar

Snap melons are excellent cultivars to grow since they are usually self-sufficient. They have a slightly sour and bitter taste, which is why they are best paired with other fruits, some sweeter melon varieties, or sugar.


14. Crane Melon

Scientific name: Cucumis melo
Origin: Developed in California
Characteristics: Cross-farming of Japanese, Ambrosia, and Persian melons, with a lovely taste
Uses: Eaten raw in salads or cooked in various dishes

The Crane melon is another cross cultivar produced by a mix of Japanese, Ambrosia, and Persian melons. This melon is considered quite rare due to its incredibly short shelf life. Its pale-yellow and dark green spotted skin is easy to recognize, with a smooth texture. Its delightfully sweet aroma makes it an excellent addition to fruit salads and various dishes.


15. Gac Melon

Grac Melon in a basket
Image Credit: IbanezJem7v, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Momordica cochinchinensis
Origin: Vietnam
Characteristics: Vibrant red flesh, with a buttery and mild flavor
Uses: Cooked in soups, stews, curries, or rice

The Gac melon is an excellent example of how looks can deceive. This vibrant fruit has dramatic skin with tiny spikes on its entire surface, while the inner flesh has a bright red color. Despite its unique appearance, the taste of this melon is similar to an avocado, making it an excellent addition to cooked meals such as stews, soups, and curries.


16. Cucamelon

Cucamelon
Image Credit: So Fuego, Pixabay
Scientific name: Melothria scabra
Origin: Mexico and Central America
Characteristics: Tiny, grape-sized, with a sour-sweet refreshing taste
Uses: Eaten fresh, in salads, in cocktails, or cooked in stir-fries

The Cucamelon is quite an interesting specimen of melons. These tiny fruits resemble and taste similarly to cucumbers, except they are the size of a grape. They have a sour, slightly sweet taste, making them excellent in cocktails and as garnish.


17. Kantola Melon

Kantola Melon in the street market
Image Credit: Mahiyar J, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Momordica dioica
Origin: South Asia
Characteristics: Small, lemon-sized fruit with a mild and bitter flavor
Uses: Eaten as a vegetable, fried or cooked with spices, fish, and meat

The Kantola melon is a small lemon-sized fruit that, due to its bitter flavor, is mostly used as a vegetable. It is native to countries of South Asia, although exported internationally. Because of its mild aroma, it goes excellent when fried or cooked with meats and fish.


18. Galia Melon

Scientific name: Cucumis melo var. reticulatus
Origin: Israel
Characteristics: A cross between cantaloupe and honeydew, with a sweet and spicy taste
Uses: Eaten fresh, as a dessert, with ice cream or sorbet

Galia melons are another example of hybrid cultivars originating from Israel. They are round in shape and have an intense and sweet taste. The flesh is light green and white, with an aromatic flavor, making it one of the favorite fruits worldwide.


19. Casaba Melon

locally grown casaba melons
Image Credit: Teri Virbickis, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Cucumis melo var. Inodorus ‘Golden Casaba’
Origin: Persia, Asia Minor
Characteristics: Sweetish, spicy
Uses: Raw, sorbet, smoothies, curries

The Casaba melon is unique since it resembles a pumpkin more than a melon. It was imported to the United States in the late 19th century from Kasaba, Turkey, which is how it got its name. Nevertheless, this melon originates from Asia Minor, particularly from Iran. They are sweet and spicy and are commonly used in smoothies, soups, and curries.


20. Citron Melon

Scientific name: Citrullus amarus
Origin: Africa
Characteristics: Hard white flesh, not sweet
Uses: Pickled, cooked as preserves, inedible raw

The Citron melon is quite similar, almost identical to the watermelon when observed. However, this melon cannot simply be eaten raw. Instead, it is mainly used cooked as a preserve or pickled.

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Conclusion

Summer is incomplete without a taste of fresh, juicy melon during your day. The best part is there are so many varieties that you can constantly experiment with different flavors and dishes. While some melons may be too sweet and perfect as a fruit salad, others are bitter or sour, making them excellent for preparing salty dishes and specialties from around the world.


Featured Image Credit: Arina P Habich, Shutterstock

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