Casaba melons belong to the winter melon family and, hence, a distinctive appearance that makes them easy to recognize. Typically, the outer skin is golden yellow in color with hints of green, though its color varies depending upon the particular variety. To choose the best casaba melon, look for one that gives slightly when lightly pressed at the blossom part of the fruit. Avoid melons that are too soft, have soft spots, or that have mold or dark blemishes.
Varying from other types of cantaloupe, the casaba melon sports numerous shallow, uneven furrows that run from one end to the other on its skin. The wrinkled skin lacks netting, and its color ranges from green to yellow. The winter pineapple variety of casaba melon has a light green skin even when it is completely mature. The Crenshaw type acquires a light yellow-tan when it matures, while the golden beauty turns a bright lovely yellow.
While it resembles a round pumpkin shape, it tapers off to a slight point at the stem end. Casaba melons grow on a vine like other melons, but they do not slip from the vine when they mature. Harvesting them involves cutting the stems when they're ripe and holding them in storage. To choose the best casaba melon, look for a fruit that is slightly heavy for its size. A typical melon weighs anywhere from three to five pounds (one to two kilograms).
Pick a large and firm casaba melon whose rind is evenly colored with a rich yellow color and very little or no green. A slightly soft blossom end indicates a ripe melon. It's best to avoid melons that are extremely green throughout, though that depends on the variety. The best melons are the ones that have been allowed to ripen naturally on the vine.
Vine-ripened casaba melons can be identified by looking at the rind. It should be slightly ridged. The skin also acquires a waxy feel when the melon is ripe. If they aren't ripe, then they can be stored at room temperature until they do. Casaba melons differ from other melons in the aspect of shelf life. They are a lot hardier and can be stored longer.
Once they are ripe, and this is easily observed because the skin changes color from green to a rich yellow, the fruit can be refrigerated for several days if cut. They keep well when stored in a covered container or in plastic wrapping. As they are not as sweet as cantaloupes, cooks can prepare them in a variety of ways, including in cold soups or paired along with curry dishes.