The most important etiquette rules on how to serve and eat melon. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.
The etiquette principles on this page apply to cantaloupe or honeydew melons, and to similar varieties.
What melon etiquette is
Melon etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat melon. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.
If you are hosting, follow melon etiquette to serve it to your guests appropriately.
If you are a guest, respect melon etiquette rules to properly eat and enjoy it.
What you should know about melon
Melon is a type of fruit. Many varieties exist. The most popular in commerce are:
- Cantaloupe melon.
- Honeydew melon.
In general, such varieties are round or oval in shape. Fleshy, with a soft, watery, and slightly grainy texture. Sweet and mild in taste. The color can vary, depending on the type. The most common melons are light green or orange.
China is the major producer of melons. It accounts for almost 50% of the melons in commerce. Other major producers include Turkey, India, Iran, Afghanistan, the United States, Guatemala, and Brazil.
Etiquette rules to serve and eat melon
1) How to store melon
You can store melons out of the fridge if they are not ripe yet. When a melon, such as a cantaloupe or honeydew, is ripe, store it in the fridge.
Whole, uncut cantaloupe or honeydew melons can last for 7 to 10 days in the fridge. Do not cover the melon or wrap it in plastic.
Once sliced, store the melon in the fridge. To store melon halves, cover the surface with plastic or aluminum foil. To store melon slices, place them on a dish covered with plastic. Or place them in a sealed container. Sliced cantaloupe or honeydew melon lasts for 2 or 3 days.
In the freezer, melon can last for up to 6 months.
2) How to clean melon
It is a good hygiene norm to wash an uncut melon before slicing it. Even a quick wash decreases the risk of contamination from pesticides or other chemicals.
Place the melon under running water and wash its rind.
3) How to prepare melon
Cut the melon in halves. Use a spoon or a knife to remove the core and the seeds. Then, cut each half into slices.
Melon is ideal for fresh snacks or dishes. Add melon to yogurt and cereals, fruit salads, or ice cream. Use it to make fresh juices. Or serve it to accompany a charcuterie or cheese platter.
It is uncommon to cook cantaloupe, honeydew, or a similar water-rich melon.
4) How to serve & present melon
Serve cantaloupe, honeydew, or a similar melon for breakfast, a snack, or a fruit course. Alternatively, you can serve melon to complement an appetizer or a course. Such as Prosciutto Crudo and melon, popular in Italy.
Avoid serving cantaloupe, honeydew, or a similar melon whole.
Serve it in slices or in chunks. If you serve melon in slices, you can keep the rind. When you present melon in chunks or cubes, it is appropriate to remove the rind.
Serve melon slices on a serving plate. Present them with a serving fork and a knife or spoon.
You can serve melon cubes on a serving plate or in a bowl. Present them with a serving spoon and a fork.
Serve melon slightly chilled or at room temperature. Take it out of the fridge between 10 and 30 minutes before serving.
5) Food and wine to pair melon with
Cantaloupe, honeydew, or a similar melon pairs well with many flavors. Basil, cilantro, ginger, citrus, lemongrass, or mint. Melon is not common with chocolate.
You can match melon with savory dishes. With charcuterie, such as Prosciutto Crudo, Italian Salami, Chorizo, or Soppressata. You can even use it to accompany a savory fish or seafood course.
In a fruit salad, melon pairs particularly well with berries. Such as blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries. It goes well with other fruit or vegetables too. Cucumber. Lemon or lime. Apples. Kiwi.
6) How to eat melon
Eat melon with a fork and a knife. Use a spoon only when the melon is served in small chunks. Do not eat it with your fingers.
You should discard the rind of cantaloupe, honeydew, or a similar melon. Sometimes, melon is served in slices with the rind. In such cases, eat it with a fork and a knife. It is ideal etiquette to keep the rind whole. Use the knife to peel bite-sized cubes away from the rind.
Melon etiquette: the worst mistakes
The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors.
A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.
Avoid the worst melon etiquette mistakes.
- 8/10. Serving spoiled or overripe melon.
- 8/10. Eating melon without utensils.
- 5/10. Serving unripe melon.
- 3/10. Serving melon whole.
Additional information for properly serving melon
How many calories per serving?
Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.
Cantaloupe, honeydew, or a similar melon contains 34 calories per 100 grams. An average ⅛ slice of a medium-sized melon weighs 70 grams and contains 24 calories.
How to buy the best melon
A crucial factor in melon etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.
Season and availability
The season for cantaloupe, honeydew, or most similar melons is from May to September.
Choose the best
To buy the best cantaloupe or honeydew, check the color. The rind’s color moves from green to yellowish or light orange nuances.
Gently push on the lower end of the melon. If there is a light give, the melon is likely ripe. If there is no give, the melon could be unripe. While if the give is pronounced, the fruit could be over-ripe.
Alternatives to melon
The best substitute for a melon, such as a cantaloupe or honeydew, is another water-rich fruit or vegetable. Try watermelon or cucumber.
- Cantaloupe and Specialty Melons: extension.uga.edu