Melons are a sign of summer, especially watermelons. Comprised of 92 percent water, watermelon is the perfect cool, refreshing snack to take the edge off summer heat in a healthy way. Although we at Robinson Fresh® choose to celebrate melons year-round (and so do many of you, as melon sales were up 13% over the last 52 weeks according to IRI), here are a few ways you can honor melons in the peak of summer.
Top five things to celebrate about summer melon season
Having been in the melon game for quite some time, I know there are more than five ways to enjoy summer melon season. Here are some of the best things I’ve learned as a melon appreciator—from what to look for in-store to how to bring out the best flavor in a melon.
1. Try a new flavor of summer melon
The darling of summer melons is the watermelon. Certainly, they’re not slowing down in sales, especially organic watermelons, which saw sales increase by 26% over the last 52 weeks according to IRI. But even in the winter, most retailers will carry at least four types of melons. Watermelon, cantaloupe, mini melons, and honeydew are all staples in grocery stores, so there’s an opportunity to reach for something that’s not the classic watermelon. In the summer, grocery stores are often stocking new varieties so it’s a great time to look for something new and different.
2. Look for summer sales on melons
This is the time of year when local abundance is at its peak, which also means it’s the best time for deals on melons. (Although, I would argue that a melon is one of the most economical pieces of produce when factoring price per pound.) Some retailers offer melons at a “buy one try one” deal. This means you can buy your favorite melon and try a new type when it’s most refreshing.
3. Pick the perfect melon
Only about half of melon purchasers expressed confidence in choosing a ripe one. And interestingly, though melons are typically one of the least expensive fresh produce items per pound, shoppers are much less likely to buy them on a whim if they aren’t comfortable selecting a “good” melon—one that is ripe, juicy, flavorful, or has the right texture.
To help build confidence, here are a few things you should know. A melon that feels heavy for its size is more likely to be brimming with juice. A watermelon with a creamy-yellow splotch is at peak ripeness. That spot is where the melon sat as it ripened; if the spot is white or pale green, it may have been picked too soon and may not be as ripe.
4. Choose fresh cut watermelon to get the taste of summer with added convenience
The fresh cut segment continues to gain popularity due to the busy lifestyles of today. As people gather once again, fresh cut melons are the perfect opportunity to share a light, healthy snack without the upfront work. All fresh cut melons, including seedless watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew, collectively grew 21.6% in dollars spent over the last 52 weeks, based on IRI FreshLook Data. Its grown so much, in fact, that watermelon ranked first among the top ten value-added categories of produce during the last year. More people are appreciating the benefits of melons without the preparation. Jumping on the fresh cut bandwagon is one of the easiest ways to celebrate melons this summer.
5. Look for watermelon recipes to try at home
One of the best ways to celebrate melons is to reimagine how you eat it. Of course, a clean, simple melon is always a delicious and refreshing option, but there are both sweet and savory recipes to best showcase melons. The recipe below combines grilled watermelon with prosciutto, feta cheese, and balsamic vinegar glaze.
Celebrate melons year-round
Although this post focused on ways to seek out melons in the summer, I truly believe we should celebrate melons all year long.
Connect with an expert from Robinson Fresh to learn more about melons or our other year-round, fresh produce.