An orange flesh honeydew resembles a regular green honeydew on the outside, but has a light orange interior. Once seeded and cut, orange honeydew can easily be mistaken for cantaloupe; the texture and color are very similar. Also called a muskmelon, an orange flesh honeydew tastes like a green honeydew, not like the cantaloupe it resembles. Orange flesh honeydew is available from U.S. sources in the summer months and from countries with more tropical climates year-round. Choose a large, firm melon with a greenish-yellow rind; the melon should have a hollow sound when thumped.
Size is one indicator of ripeness; a good orange flesh honeydew will be almost the size of a soccer ball and will weigh between 5 and 8 pounds. Honeydews that are much smaller than usual may have been picked before they were fully ripe. Muskmelons that have been picked too soon will not get any better with age; they need to ripen on the vine for best results. Choosing the biggest melon from a group is one of the ways to be sure you are picking a good one, provided the rind is in good shape.
The outer covering of the melon should have a firm, waxy appearance, with no soft spots. One side of an orange flesh honeydew may be flatter and lighter in color than the others; this is usually the spot where the melon rested on the ground in the field. Overall, the outside of a good orange flesh honeydew should have a smooth appearance without dents or pitting, and the color should be some shade of warm yellowish green. A ripe orange flesh honeydew may feel like it has been coated in wax; the waxy finish is another sign of ripeness.
Your other senses can be used to pick out a good melon as well. Use your ears to check for ripeness; knocking on the side of the melon should yield a hollow, thumping sound. Some ripe melons may produce a rattling noise when shaken, though not all will do so. Sniff the end of the melon where it was attached to the vine. A ripe melon will have a sweet scent in this area. The stronger the scent, the riper the melon.
The best way to tell if an orange flesh honeydew is ripe is to taste it. Slice the melon open and remove the seeds; then cut into cubes, balls, or slices. If the melon is not sweet enough, a small amount of white sugar or other sweetener can be added.