Is it time for some melony dessert yet? Depending on the type and variety of melons you planted and when you planted them, you might already have had your first taste of your delicious homegrown muskmelon! Or, you may be watching those vines in your garden and wondering if the time is right and if your melon is ripe…
The first sign that a muskmelon or cantaloupe is getting ripe is, of course, the color. The netting of the fruit changes from green to a creamy yellowish tan.
Another way to tell is to take your thumb and press on the ‘button’ on the blossom end, opposite where the stem of the vine is attached to the melon. If the button is rock hard, it’s not ripe. If there’s a little bit of give, your melon is ripening.
If the rind has turned color and the button has give, it's time to give it the ‘sniff test.’ Put your nose right down to the blossom end and take a good whiff. There should be a fruity aroma coming from the melon. If you don't smell anything, the melon is probably not ready to be picked. This ‘musky’ smell is why some people refer to cantaloupes as "muskmelons".
The final indicator— on an unripe muskmelon, the stem end is firmly attached to the melon. As it ripens, the stem end will start to separate from the fruit slightly.
As the stem of the vine begins to separate from the melon. This is a process called ‘slipping,’ where the vine detaches from the melon. If the stem comes off with a slight tug, it is called a ‘half-slip.’ This is a good time to pick if you want to eat the melon in a day or two. When the melon is fully ripe, the stem will separate easily and can even detach from the vine on its own; this is called ‘full-slip,’ and the melon is ready to be eaten right away!
Watch our short YouTube video where we take you on a field trip to our Minnesota Midget muskmelon patch and show you exactly how we determine which melons to pick and which to leave for another day! We want you to be confident that the ‘time is right and your melon is ripe’ so you can enjoy every bite of delicious!
Our best to you,
Theresa & Dan