Texas Living

Farm-Fresh Texas Melon Recipes

By Celia Bryan-Brown 4.18.19

As ripe, fragrant melons fill grocery stores and market stalls across Texas, there’s an almost overwhelming possibility: What to do with them? Of course, simply slicing and eating them plain on a hot day is never a bad idea. But when you need a little inspiration, try adding heat to your honeydew, caramelizing your cantaloupe, or pickling your leftover watermelon.  

For a quick pick-me-up, slice a ripe melon into wedges and dress with fresh lime juice and a dusting of chili powder and salt. That’s a quick way to get your Texas flavor fix. Here are some more melon recipes to try this season:

Picking the Perfect One

How to be sure you’re choosing a good one? There’s nothing worse than cutting into an unripe and flavorless fruit, but these tips will lead you in the right direction to the perfect melon recipes:

  • Make sure there is no visible damage to the fruit.
  • The skin should be dull, not shiny; shiny means it’s unripe inside.
  • Choose the heaviest fruit you can find for its size.
  • Gently press the section where the vine was attached — it should be slightly soft.
  • Your melon should smell fresh and fragrant, with a hint of sweetness.

Photo by Natalie Goff

Hot Honeydew

Make a sweet salad for two with the cool flavor of honeydew melon. Dice the flesh of a volleyball-sized melon. Finely slice two scallions, a green finger chili, and a small handful of coriander, and mix together. Drizzle a little olive oil and vinegar (try a fruit vinegar like raspberry) and tear some basil leaves over it all.

Photo by Natalie Goff

Caramelized Cantaloupe

While it’s still cool enough to grill outside, peel and slice a sweet, earthy cantaloupe to throw on. Balance the slightly sweet, smoky caramelization with burrata, tomatoes, and torn basil and mint. This is a lovely dish to serve on a platter, family style, and drizzled with balsamic glaze for a striking outdoor party piece.

Photo by Natalie Goff

Pickled Watermelon

Texas is particularly famous for its watermelon. What better way to cool down with icy pink slices of it on hot evenings? There’s an old saying that what grows together goes together. Throw sugary chunks of watermelon into a refreshing tomato salad to draw out the sweet, juicy flavors.

If you’re throwing your rinds away, though, you’re missing out. Whip up a batch of old-Southern-style watermelon rind pickles for a unique taco topping.

Happy melon season! Try more adventures in pickling or learn how to turn your backyard ingredients into tasty jellies.

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