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Ugly can be delicious.

 
gardener
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I was out in my garden with my 20 year old son.  I was checking on the honeydew to see if any were ripe.  There was one that looked ripe but it was ugly! Bug damage and some yellow scars on the outside.  My son said we needed to throw in the compost pile.  I took the melon in and cut into it.  For the most part it just looked like a perfectly normal honeydew.  I removed anything suspicious out and we ate a delicious sweet as candy melon.  It got me thinking about gardeners who are just starting out.  A lot would probably think like my son.  So I decided to make this post to let people know Unless it's totally rotten, after all the time and effort you took to grow (what ever) take a minute to cut into it, because a lot of the time the damage is skin deep.  Good luck and Happy Gardening.
 
master gardener
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Definitely

I always use birds as an indicator of berries being ripe. The birds also tell me that my peas are ripe! They will tell me when the barley/oats are ready as well. Just last night we had a raccoon come and tell us some of our tomatoes are ripe!

It is truly amazing living with these critters :)

Now i hope the raccoon doesn't spot the corn haha!
 
Jen Fulkerson
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I was worried about how to tell when the honeydew was ripe.  I really wasn't seeing a color change.  Yesterday When I pulled back the leaves I could smell honeydew, and there were ants all over where the stem attaches to the fruit.  I took this as a sign and sure enough it was ripe.  It was good, but not even close to today's ugly fruit!
 
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Thank you for this encouragement, Jen.

We are novice gardeners, and earlier this year we planted (seeds of) a few types of melons including two small watermelon varieties, cantaloupe, and galia melon. It never gets too cold around here (zone 11a), though it does take a while to warm up in the summer, so I guess they took their sweet time getting started. In the meantime, we forgot what we planted where and even added some extra seeds in case the original plantings just gave up. Eventually we had some nice looking melons growing - they were greenish with longitudinal yellowish stripes. We thought they were one of the varieties of watermelon. One of them started turning more yellow and developed a scaliness (which we later realized was similar to the skin of a cantaloupe). We picked it because we were concerned it was over-ripening on the vine. We thought, oh that yellow watermelon doesn't look so good, hope it isn't ruined... Upon cutting into it we observed green flesh, like a honeydew, but we did not plant honeydew and the outside didn't look like honeydew....Turns out it was the galia melon, which we then researched and learned is a cross between honeydew-cantaloupe, thus explaining the coloration (inside & out) and taste (delicious!).

Just like an ugly duckling could turn out to be a beautiful swan, an ugly watermelon might turn out to be a delicious galia melon.  (Or, as in Jen's case, an ugly honeydew may also turn out to be a delicious honeydew.)
IMG_8063.JPG
galia melon (image courtesy of my father in law)
galia melon (image courtesy of my father in law)
3100_melon_galia_2.jpg
found this image online - the melon picture on top is what ours looked like for most of the time while they were growing. Also the vine has lobed leaves like the one on top.
found this image online - the melon picture on top is what ours looked like for most of the time while they were growing. Also the vine has lobed leaves like the one on top.
 
master gardener
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Location: southern Illinois.
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This is an ongoing debate between my wife  and I. I grew up in a very poor household where throwing something out was a major decision. When we can food, she tends to want to toss everything with a bad spot.  I will grab a knife and initiate surgery.
 
Jen Fulkerson
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My Grandma always said "waist not want not."  I think it would be good if we all at least tried to live this way.  I missed one honeydew.  It was totally split on both sides and full of bugs.  I saw bugs as a bad thing, but the chickens considered it a bonus.  We may not have gotten to eat it, but it still didn't go to waist.
 
pollinator
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Good point!  If we all chose to dispose of any fruit or vegetable with a blemish, imagine the food that would be wasted!

I was also raised in a household where you cut out the bad spots and went on.
 
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As a former fruitarian, having picked/bought/eaten so many fruits, and if different stages of ripeness, ripe or overripe is the way to go for for me, but that means also that you need to let go of visual perfection. The riper, the more damaged, but the more tasty... Pears are an example of this. And looks have nothing to do with taste. I would say smell can (but not always) give you a better idea of the taste/ripeness of the fruit. And if you have problems with digestion, do not eat underripe fruits, they will block you up. If you are afraid of sugar or "too" sweet fruit, than eat veggies instead.
 
steward
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Ugly fruit can be more nutritious. I was certain I'd posted about this on permies before, but after multiple searches, I guess I was mistaken.

Eliza Greenman, https://elizapples.com, has been in a wide variety of press for writing about how ugly fruit develops more antioxidants and flavor from unsightly "damage" of one kind or another.

I'd posted about Eliza's writeup of The Illustrated History of Apples in the United States and Canada - The Holy Grail of Apple Nerdery, but had only linked in that post to her "ugly apples" stuff, so maybe that's what skewed my memory.

Here are some links:
Food & Wine:  Ugly Fruit is Especially Nutritious - which credits Eliza.
And a search for "ugly apples" on Eliza's blog returns multiple articles, so I've included the search results:  elizapples.com ugly apples search results.

Eliza and other "fruit explorer" friends are interested in heritage or lost varietals of apples and mulberries - especially those that are good as hog feed or homestead use. She knows an incredible amount about cider apples and orchard maintenance / restoration. I highly recommend following her posts.

 
pollinator
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Summers are usually mostly dry here. When it does rain, watermelons often split open. My friend was tossing them without looking at them. They seem most likely to split when they are ripe, so it pays to check them. They wont keep at all after they split.

This applies to tomatoes too, but it’s not as obvious.
 
gardener
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Haha i love this!
They can keep their plastic looking shiny drenched in poison fruit to themselves those shopkeepers.
I eat healthy fruit.

I like to keep things on the counter, to ripen up and then eat the most ripe one. I've noticed they taste the nicest. Is that just because they're more sugary or because of something else. My idea is the peariness of the pear comes out or the appleness of the apple.
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