A classic staple of summertime snacking, fruit salad preparation, and countless unforgettably refreshing recipes (from juices to cold soups and so much more) the cantaloupe is truly considered a beloved type of melon all around the world. As distinctive as its taste and appearance is the cantaloupe’s varied origins and all the different cantaloupe types out there. Whether you’re looking for a cantaloupe type to grow at home, or just a new and untried variety to sample from the supermarket or your local farmer’s market or fruit stand, we’ve got you covered!
Read on to learn about some of the tastiest cantaloupe types around the world!
How Many Cantaloupe Types Are There?
While at first blush, it may seem that all cantaloupe types are relatively the same, this couldn’t be further from the truth!
There are actually lots of different cantaloupe types out there that originate from different parts of the world, though the story behind the name “cantaloupe” remains the same! Each class of cantaloupe variety tends to have its own distinguishing features, and some may be more easily grown in your backyard than purchased from a grocer, depending on what region of the world you call home.
Let’s take a brief look at the different cantaloupe types out there!
North American Cantaloupe
What we know of as North American Cantaloupe types actually most likely have their origins in the region of South Asia or Africa. Nevertheless, these netted melons with their orange flesh and sweet, juicy flavor are primarily grown across North America nowadays, including in Mexico and Canada, which gives them their classification and name. They are the sort of cantaloupes you’ll typically find in your average grocery store or at a farmer’s market or fruit stand. Learn more about North American cantaloupe types here.
The factor that typically distinguishes European Cantaloupe types from their counterparts in other growing locations is the sweetness of the fruit itself. European Cantaloupes tend to be much sweeter than other cantaloupe types, with an appearance that also differentiates; European Cantaloupe types have less netting and bear light green stripes, a distinguishing characteristic throughout which many find harkens more to other melon varieties. Learn more about European cantaloupe types here.
Originating across multiple different countries, Asian Cantaloupe types have the widest range of variety setting them apart from North American and European Cantaloupes—and from one another! Depending on which country an Asian Cantaloupe originates from, its appearance, flavor, and other distinguishing characteristics will vary quite a bit, with some being a pale taupe shade, others a bright and vibrant orange or yellow, and their flavors ranging from mild to incredibly sweet. Learn more about Asian Cantaloupe types here.
Some of the Best Cantaloupe Types For Growing and Eating
With so many unique cantaloupe types to choose from, it can seem a bit overwhelming to know which ones to eat, and especially which ones to grow at home! That’s why we rounded up some of the best cantaloupe varieties out there to share with you.
Read on to learn lots more about these delicious types of cantaloupes from all different varieties, including North American, European, and Asian cantaloupe classes.
1. The Aphrodite Cantaloupe
One of the most gorgeous and delicious cantaloupe types out there, the Aphrodite Cantaloupe is a real crowd pleaser!
The Athena cantaloupe typically weighs in somewhere between 6 to 8 pounds when fully ripe, making it a distinctly larger cantaloupe type, and it is one of those varieties of cantaloupe that lives up to the common term “muskmelon” used for such melon varieties; it boasts a distinctive musky, sweet fragrance that truly delights the senses. Its spherical shape and light tannish coloring make it otherwise difficult to distinguish from other cantaloupe varieties, but with that delectable scent, the Aphrodite Cantaloupe is unforgettable!
That delicious smell and sweet flavor make the Aphrodite Cantaloupe an ideal melon for consuming raw as a snack, in beverages, and even as a component in certain bread recipes!
Learn more about the Aphrodite Cantaloupe—including how to grow it and how to make the most of your harvest!
2. The Sugar Cube Cantaloupe
A standout among all different cantaloupe types, the Sugar Cube Cantaloupe is indeed considered by some to be the tastiest cantaloupe you can get your hands on!
Though it traces its origins back to just the early 2000s, making it somewhat of a juvenile among other established cantaloupe types, the Sugar Cube Cantaloupe has gained a well deserved notoriety over the ensuing years. This hybrid cantaloupe was bred specifically to be disease immune while retaining an abundant sweetness—and it does both things excellently! This is a smaller sized cantaloupe type that’s ideal for serving to just a couple of people at once, and it’s great for juicing, blending into smoothies, and other cold delicacies.
Perhaps best of all is that, in addition to its carefully bred hardiness, the Sugar Cube Cantaloupe is also quite easy to grow! Even first-time melon growers are likely to find that this is one of the easiest cantaloupe types to keep alive and thriving.
Learn more about the Sugar Cube Cantaloupe, including how to grow and serve it for your next summer dinner party!
3. The Athena Cantaloupe
The Athena Cantaloupe is among the most widely distributed and consumed cantaloupe types in North America. It’s likely that the majority of cantaloupes you have enjoyed from a local grocer are of the Athena Cantaloupe variety!
Dating its origins back to the early 1990s, the Athena Cantaloupe is trademarked by its small seed cavity and coarse, intricate netting across the light green flesh. Weighing in at around 5 to 6 pounds and being firm and succulent once fully ripened, the Athena Cantaloupe is truly an ideal summertime treat! However, it’s important to be aware when growing your own Athena Cantaloupe at home that these hybrid melons do take a bit longer to fully ripen than some other cantaloupe types. Though this long ripening process certainly does add to that firm and juicy texture, it means you may be enjoying your harvest of Athena Cantaloupes a bit later in the season.
4. The Charentais Cantaloupe
One of those cantaloupe types that is as beautiful and elegant as its French name, the Charentais Cantaloupe is a tiny cantaloupe that packs a powerful flavor punch!
First noted to be grown in the early 1900s in Western France, the Charentais Cantaloupe averages a size of just two to three pounds, and is round rather than ovular, with green striping that may call to mind more watermelon than cantaloupe—a distinctive quality of European Cantaloupe varieties. Nevertheless, this orange fleshed cantaloupe is an unforgettable treat, with its taste being more assertively sweet and potent than a North American cantaloupe. This makes it a great component to lots of summer dishes like fruit salads, as well as a healthy snack you can easily get most kiddos with even the most ravenous sweet tooth to enjoy!
Although the Charentais Cantaloupe is one of the harder cantaloupe types to find for sale, and it may not be available at your average grocery store, cantaloupe lovers need not despair! There are lots of places you can find Charentais Cantaloupe seeds for sale, and this is a relatively simple cantaloupe to grow for yourself at home!
5. The Galia Cantaloupe
There’s something that makes the Galia Cantaloupe truly unique among most cantaloupe types—we’re talking about its vivid green flesh color!
Originating out of Israel in the 1960s, then released to the public in the 1970s and exported all over the world ever since, the Galia Cantaloupe is a hybrid type characterized by its bright green hued flesh. This is due to its crossbreeding, with a cantaloupe on one side (hence the netted flesh) and a honeydew melon on the other (hence that unique green flesh usually more characteristic of honeydew melons). Another of the smaller cantaloupe varieties, weighing in at usually between 2 to 3 pounds, the Galia Cantaloupe makes up for its small size with a fantastic flavor profile!
Owed in large part to the honeydew melon in its genetics, the Galia Cantaloupe has a stronger sweetness than most milder cantaloupe types; its flavoring has often been called tropical, which makes it a great component for smoothies or juices and a remarkable summertime treat in fruit salad or consumed just on its own, right down to the rind!
If you’re eager to learn about growing the Galia Cantaloupe for yourself—they can even be grown in pots if necessary for space limitations, due to their small size—then keep reading about the Galia Cantaloupe!
6. The Hearts of Gold Cantaloupe
Heirloom cantaloupe types may not be all the rage for the general public, but there’s something about those classic breeds like Hearts of Gold Cantaloupe that are truly irresistible once you’ve had a taste!
The Hearts of Gold Cantaloupe has been around since the late 1800s, but hasn’t enjoyed much time in the spotlight. This is largely due to its shorter than average shelf life and thin rind, making it quicker to rot and easier to bruise, which is less ideal for grocers to stock. Nevertheless, if you can get your hands on a Hearts of Gold Cantaloupe either at a store or by growing them for yourself, you are in for a real treat! Ultra sweet with a classically firm cantaloupe texture, the Hearts of Gold Cantaloupe is particularly great for snacking; also, due to its short shelf life of about 5 to 7 days, once cut up, Hearts of Gold Cantaloupes make for a great basis for jams or marmalades, as this will extend their viability quite a bit!
One of the best things about Hearts of Gold Cantaloupe is that they are easy to grow at home and produce a rapid and vigorous crop, meaning that you will have plenty of them to use and won’t have to wait long to enjoy them, either!
7. Earls Melon Cantaloupe
A memorable member of the Asian Cantaloupe types, the Earles Melon Cantaloupe has quite the storied past!
Another beautiful green variety of melon, the Earls Melon Cantaloupe is considered a luxury cantaloupe type in Japan. These melons are particularly noteworthy for their uniquely appealing flavor, which can be attributed to their area of growth near the Pacific coastal region of Japan. This infuses the soil with nutrients that really pumps up the flavor of the Earls Melon Cantaloupe! It does this so much so, in fact, that these delicious fruits were often given as gifts in consideration of their monetary and quality value.
Now You Know 7 Different Cantaloupe Varieties!
I hope this post has inspired you to find the variety of cantaloupe that works best for you. If you enjoyed the opportunity to learn about all these different cantaloupe types, don’t stop reading here! There’s so much more to explore. Keep reading about cantaloupes to discover more about growing, preparing, and enjoying all the many varieties.