Take Advantage of The Many Varieties of Melons to Create A Delicious Fruit Salad with A Sweet and Tangy Flavour. This Melon Salad with Maple Syrup and Lime Dressing Is the Perfect End to A Great Meal.
How Many Types of Melons Are There?
There are about 25 known varieties of melons in the world today. This ranges from winter melons to the lime green fleshed Horned melons to Hami melons.
Some melons have higher water content whilst others are sweeter. And even though you can use any melon you wish for this salad, it is important to have a good mix of melons of different consistencies, flavours and sweetness. This will provide the balance required for a good melon salad.
What is Champagne Watermelon?
Champagne watermelon is simply a watermelon with yellow flesh. From the outside, the rind and its shape are the same as a red crimson watermelon. To differentiate the two, I only ever buy them when they are cut up. I also prefer to buy them that way as I need to ensure the colours are vibrant enough to create that wow factor.
Its flesh is slightly sweeter and sometimes you can get a hint of honey in its flavour.
What is Canary Melon?
Yet another variety of melon, the Canary melon is oval shaped with a bright yellow rind and a light green to white inner flesh. It is a sweeter variety and specifically chosen for this salad to offset the milder honeydew.
Its flesh is juicier and slightly translucent in comparison to the opaquer flesh of the cantaloupe.
The Canary melon is not a melon I grew up with in Asia and have only recently become more available in Australia. The lucky North and South Americans get to eat this on a regular basis. Jealous much?!
Why I Love Melon Salad with Maple Syrup and Lime Dressing
I love this salad because it’s a great way to serve up a fruit salad with a slight twist.
Melons are easily available throughout the year, so its lack of seasonality makes it easy for me to whip up anytime. Perfect as a winter fruit salad when there are less choices during the colder months.
They are inexpensive and it’s a fruit that most people will eat.
Maple Syrup and lime is just a match made in heaven and everyone loves the sweet and citrus combination. And it just gives the melon salad that extra pop in the end!
How to Make the Melon Salad with Maple Syrup and Lime Dressing
Selecting the Best Combination of Melons
Whilst you’re pretty much able to select any of the melon varieties to make this fruit salad, it’s still important to select the right combination.
From a flavour perspective, not all melons are super sweet. On the other hand, you don’t want to select melons that are all too sweet. You need a good balance of both. As an example, the winter melon is more of a savoury melon, so it goes well with the sweet cantaloupe.
Creating a good mix of textures is another factor to consider. The Champagne watermelon is crunchy and watery whilst the honeydew has a softer, fuller consistency. At a minimum have both melons to ensure every mouthful has a variety.
And as we always do when we entertain, the salad has to be visually stunning. Don’t just think, “oh, it’s just a melon salad”. When I made this for a dinner party recently, the best compliment I got was “how do you make these melons look so darn good?”
To make the melon salad stand out, select melons of different colours. The Champagne watermelon is by far my favourite melon as not only is it a lesser known watermelon, but the yellow is so vibrant. The orange flesh of the cantaloupe or light green honeydew make for a great contrast against the bright yellow.
Don’t go choosing the Canary melon, Piel de Sapo melon and Winter melon for the one salad or you’ll just have a very bland, white looking salad (although super yum!).
How to Ball the Melons
I remember when I first saw beautifully balled melons at a party when I was a child. I thought they were lollies or candy to begin with. I don’t think I was bitterly disappointed to discover it was fruit, but I was definitely surprised! Ever since then I have always associated balled melons with special occasions and is somewhat nostalgic.
I guess balling the melons also gives the impression that you’ve put some effort into the salad rather than just chopping them up. I love it when my guests say “ooo look at these!”.
So, head on out and get yourself a melon baller if you don’t already have one. I have a dual ended one which gives me 2 different sizes, just to mix it up little bit. Also, I find the large end is too big for the smaller melons.
Cut the melon into half but leave the rind on. It’s easier to ball the melon with the support of the harder shell as you push the melon baller into the flesh.
Scrape the melon seeds out with a spoon.
Then push the melon baller into the melon and in a rotating motion and a flick of the wrist, twist out a ball of melon. Start the next ball close to the first one and keep going until you’re not able to do anymore.
To reduce wastage, I then chop up the remaining flesh and put aside for me to eat another time.
Cut the Champagne Watermelon
Cut the Champagne watermelon into small bite size cubes.
I just prefer to have one of the melons in a different shape. Mix it up a bit!
Tear the Mint Leaves
Tear the mint leaves gently off its stem. They tend to bruise easily so don’t be too hasty.
Tear the leaves into small bits. I prefer to tear them as I like the inconsistency of shapes and sizes. And it just looks more natural.
You can of course just chop them up!
How to Make the Fruit Salad Dressing
In a mixing bowl, add honey, maple syrup and the juice from the orange and lime.
The consistency should almost be like a juice rather than a drizzle. If you prefer the dressing to have more of a syrupy consistency, half the juice from the lime and orange.
How to Assemble the Melon Fruit Salad
Mix all the melons, dressing and fresh mint in a mixing bowl.
If you like the melon salad to have a lot of dressing left so your guests can slurp it up in the end, serve it in a bowl or a glass.
If you don’t, make sure you drain the dressing by using a slotted spoon before placing it on the plate. Serve immediately so the watermelon doesn’t water too much.
This is perhaps one of my favourite melon recipes and it is also an easy fruit salad recipe. The yellow watermelon creates the subtle tones and its lack of a bright coloured ingredient makes it even more appealing. It’s a simple yet pretty ensemble with a dressing that compliments it perfectly. Great end to a fabulous dinner party!
More Salad Recipes with Fruit:
Melon Salad with Maple Syrup and Lime Dressing
- 300 g Champagne watermelon, cubed
- 150 g Honeydew, balled
- 150 g Rockmelon, balled
- 150 g Canary melon, balled
- ¼ cup mint, torn
- 3 tsp honey
- 3 tsp maple syrup
- 1 lime, juiced
- ½ orange, juiced
- Cut the Champagne watermelon into bite size cubes. Remove rind.
- Cut the Canary melon, honeydew and cantaloupe in half. Leave the rind on and remove the seeds with a spoon. Ball all the melons using different sized ballers if available.
- Hand tear the mint leaves.
- Whisk the honey, maple syrup and the juice of the lime and orange in a mixing bowl.
- Add the melons, mint and dressing together and mix gently.
- Serve immediately if you don’t want the watermelon to water.
- If Champagne watermelon is not available, use the traditional red crimson fleshed watermelon.
- If Canary melon is not available, try looking for the Piel de Sapo melon.
- If you don’t want the dressing to be too juicy, reduce the amount of lime and orange juice added to the dressing.
- On a truly hot summer’s day, you can serve a cold fruit salad by using melons straight out of the fridge.