The best and most similar substitute for cantaloupe would be honeydew melon. The two fruits are alike in flavor and texture profile, so much so that some people often think they’re the same melon. Biologically, they also belong to the same species, Cucumis melo.
Cantaloupe is a fruit that can be consumed on its own and used in dishes. It can be tricky to find a substitute, but there are several replacements you can use, as I’ll share in this article.
1. Honeydew Melon
Honeydew is a type of muskmelon, similar to cantaloupe. It can be eaten by itself, or you can use it on several dishes, like salads, salsa, wraps, and kebabs.
This fruit is abundant during summer, specifically from July to September. Sliced melons can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, but if you need them for longer, you’d need to freeze them with syrup.
These are the similarities between honeydew melon and cantaloupe:
- Same species. Both fruits belong to Cucumis melo, a species commonly known as muskmelon.
- Sweet flavor. These fruits are known for having a sweet taste, especially when ripe. However, honeydew is regarded to be slightly sweeter.
- Juiciness. Honeydews are also juicier, having a significantly high water content of 90%.
- Nutrients. Both fruits are rich in nutrients, like antioxidants, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A. Honeydew, in particular, has many benefits, like it’s great for the skin, relieves blood pressure, strengthens bones, improves blood sugar, and hydrates our body.
These are the differences between honeydew melon and cantaloupe:
- Appearance. These fruits look notably different. While cantaloupe flesh turns bright orange, honeydew has a light green color. However, it is also said that honeydew can turn yellow over time.
- Texture. Honeydew has firmer flesh than cantaloupe, which is known for being soft and tender.
- Beta-carotene. This nutrient provides cantaloupe its distinct orange color. Honeydew has little to none of it.
- Contamination. Unlike cantaloupe, honeydew doesn’t have a netted rind, making cleaning easier. Because of that, honeydew is less prone to bacterial contamination than a cantaloupe.
There’s also a smaller version of honeydew known as a Honeyball melon. The two are pretty much the same, just very slight differences in appearance and size.
2. Casaba Melon
Another member of the muskmelon or Cucumis melo species is casaba. Their close biological relationship to cantaloupe and honeydew leads them to have similar flavor profiles, thus making them great substitutes for each other.
Although a type of wintermelon, you can find a supply of this fruit year-round. Although the fruits are available from summer to winter, they are grown in either hemisphere. Thus, stocks are consistent and reliable.
These are the similarities between casaba melon and cantaloupe:
- Same species. Casaba is also a type of muskmelon. It is named casaba because it was imported from Kasaba, Turkey.
- Sweet flavor. Although both are sweet, casaba is more subtle and mild than a cantaloupe. Such mildness makes this melon great for both savory dishes and sweet desserts.
- Juicy. Casaba is noted for being juicy, just like cantaloupe and honeydew.
- Nutritious. Casaba melon is also packed with minerals and vitamins. This includes Vitamin A, B6, folate, potassium, and more.
- Texture. Casaba has a soft, tender texture like cantaloupe.
These are the differences between casaba melon and cantaloupe:
- Appearance. While most melons are often round or oval-shaped, casaba melons are more varied. You can even find acorn-shaped fruits! They also have a wrinkly rind or skin, and the flesh isn’t bright orange like cantaloupe.
- Beta-carotene. Casaba is also unlikely to have beta-carotene because it isn’t bright orange or yellow. Although the skin turns yellow, the flesh inside becomes white as the fruit ripens.
3. Persian Melon
Appearance-wise, Persian melons look like cantaloupes, especially since they also have a bright yellow to orange flesh. Such similarity may be attributed to the fact that these melons are variants of Cucumis melo.
These are the similarities between Persian melon and cantaloupe:
- Same species. Persian melon refers to any melon harvested in Iran and its surrounding region (hence, the name). Thus, Persian melons can be further subdivided into honeydews, casaba, and cantaloupes.
- Sweet flavor. Persian melons have a very sweet taste, almost similar to honey. They’re also really juicy and have a pleasing aroma.
- Nutrients. Like other fruits, Persian melons are nutritious. They contain vitamins A, C, K, potassium, zinc, and more.
- Beta-carotene. Because Persian melons are bright orange like typical cantaloupes, they are a good source of beta-carotene. This nutrient is great for our eyes.
These are the differences between Persian melon and cantaloupe:
- Origin. Persian melons are specific in their source, which is the area in and around Iran.
- Variety. Because it’s a blanket term, Persian melon can refer to more than one kind. Thus, both cantaloupe and honeydew from Iran can be referred to as Persian melons.
Interestingly, muskmelons are initially from Persia. This may explain the variety of Persian melons available.
4. Ambrosia Melon
Like Persian melons, ambrosia melons also have bright yellow flesh similar to cantaloupe. They are a hybrid variant of Cucumis melo, and their name captures the characteristic, pleasant aroma this fruit exudes.
These are the similarities between Ambrosia melon and cantaloupe:
- Same species. Ambrosia melons are a variant of Cucumis melo, and the differences between them and cantaloupes are subtle.
- Sweet flavor. Ambrosia melons are known to have both a sweet taste and aroma.
- Nutrients. Ambrosia melons also contain a variety of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
- Beta-carotene. The color of their flesh hints that Ambrosia melons are also rich in beta-carotene, unlike honeydew and casaba.
These are the differences between Ambrosia melon and cantaloupe:
- Transport. Ambrosia melons are notorious for being a challenge to transport. Thus, they must be specially cultivated instead of imported.
- Size. These melons are known to be smaller compared to others.
Which Fruit Is Similar to Cantaloupe?
Honeydew is most similar to cantaloupe, though several others, such as casaba and Persian melon, are also similar. They share qualities, such as appearance and flavor, because they belong to the same species, Cucumis melo. Some of these variants came to be because of cultivation.
However, there are also non-melon substitutes for cantaloupe that still have the same refreshingly sweet flavors. An example is guava, with its bright, sweet flavors and hints of tartness.
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