Honeydew, Why Do We Hate You?

published Aug 12, 2016
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(Image credit: Zhemchuzhina)

Similar to a cantaloupe, except lighter in flavor and with a thicker, smoother rind, honeydew is, to me, a beloved fruit, a delicious mouth-watering treat that’s just the right amount of sweet. So it was something of a surprise to discover that, for most people, honeydew is a honey “don’t.”

In fact, honeydew may be the least loved of all melons.

Honeydew, we hate you.

While Cinderella Cantaloupe dances with her adoring fans, this bright green muskmelon is the ugly stepsister of the fruit platter. She’s there just to make the other melons look better, a green backdrop against which her fruity relations can stand out.

In a recent poll of my friends, anti-honeydew feelings ranged from mild criticism — “boring, not much of any flavor” and “blah, there’s better options to use” — to much more extreme remarks. Some held nothing back with their firm responses of “I despise it,” “it reminds me of Styrofoam,” and “don’t let it get near me.”

One of my close friends went so far as to say that she will pick out any pieces of fruit that have even touched honeydew in a fruit salad because the taste “lingers on the other fruit, and I just can’t handle that.”

The hatred of this filler fruit, mostly relegated to fruit salads at your local deli case and hotel fruit platters, is so pervasive it’s even worked its way into the set lists of comedians. Jim Gaffigan recently referred to honeydew as “the packing peanuts of the fruit bowl.”

Clearly, the anti-honeydew camp isn’t once to mince words.

But, why?

The big question here is why. What is it about this fruit that has caused such disgust among so many people? What’s wrong with honeydew?

I have a couple theories — and it has nothing to do with the fruit.

1. You’re eating overripe fruit.

As with most members of the melon family, honeydew can deteriorate into a mealy mush that’s far from appetizing (admits the honeydew enthusiast). But don’t blame the melon! The problem here is really that people are falling prey to over-ripened fruit well past its “best consumed by” date.

2. You’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

Honeydew isn’t cantaloupe. Unlike the rich sweetness of the more popular melon, honeydew has a light, subtle flavor. It leaves you feeling refreshed and your palate cleansed. Consider it the equivalent of a sorbet served between courses.

3. You’ve been swayed by public opinion.

People like what they like, yes, but they also like what their friends like – or at least, they pretend to, if nothing else. Perhaps the issue isn’t so much of disgust personally, but that people think they are supposed to pass on honeydew. Perhaps honeydew is merely falling to last place in a popularity contest of sorts without really being given a fair chance to compete.

Perhaps my words have swayed you to, in the paraphrased words of the great John Lennon, “give honeydew a chance.”

On the other hand, there is something pretty great that comes from this widespread distaste: More honeydew for me.