Cantaloupe is the most popular variety of melon of the cucumber family. Cantaloupes range in color from orange-yellow to salmon and have a soft and juicy texture with a sweet, musky aroma that emanates through the melon when it is ripe. Cantaloupes feature a hollow cavity that contains their seeds encased in a web of netting. This fruit has a refreshingly rich flavor and aroma and minimal number of calories.
Cantaloupe can either thrill or disappoint – it all depends on when and how you select one!
The longer a cantaloupe stays on the vine, the sweeter the flavor. However, even in the peak of summer, there are certain tips to allow you to pick just the right cantaloupe.
USAGEFresh in fruit salads or in fruit platters or just eaten by itself. If you want to try something different, wrap cantaloupe in thinly sliced prosciutto.
SELECTIONCantaloupes are a netted cultivar of muskmelon. Good quality cantaloupe will have webbing or netting on the exterior skin and be slightly soft on the stem end (firm elsewhere). The stem end should be a smooth and well-rounded cavity with an aromatic cantaloupe scent. Usually a melon that is decidedly heavy for it’s size is also a good indication of interior density. Often, melons will have a bleached side that rested on the soil – this does not affect the quality of the melon.
AVOIDProduct with overall soft exterior and/or sunken discolored areas.
Consumers’ Tips for Handling Fresh Cantaloupe
STORAGEAfter picking melons will ripen but their sugar content does not increase. At room temperature it takes up to four days for melons to ripen. Melons are ethylene sensitive, so they ripen faster if stored with ethylene-producing fruit such as pears or bananas.
Store whole ripe or cut melons between 40°F and 45°F. A whole ripe melon can be refrigerated for approximately three days. Keeping the seeds inside a cut melon will help keep it moist. Cut melons should be wrapped, and always taste better if they are brought to room temperature before eating. Freezing melons is not recommended.
PREPARATIONWash cantaloupe in clean water prior to cutting to eliminate impurities on the rind that could be transferred from the knife to the melon’s flesh.
SEASONAL INFORMATIONAvailable from California, Texas and Arizona from May until October, with the peak production in July.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATIONCantaloupes are low in Saturated Fat and Sodium, and very low in Cholesterol. They are also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Folate, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Potassium.
- Cantaloupe is a rich source of vitamin A, a cup of cantaloupe provides about 103.2% of the daily value for vitamin A and beta-carotene and important nutrient for a healthy vision.
- Cantaloupe is also rich in Vitamin C, a cup of cantaloupe provides 112.5% of the daily value for vitamin C. Vitamin C protect our immune from free radicals and it also help stimulate white cells to fight infection.
- Cantaloupe folate content is important for the production and maintenance of new cells, especially during pregnancy
Cantaloupe is beneficial for the following illnesses:
- Skin diseases
- High blood pressure
- Abdominal and stomach gas
- Blood deficiencies
- Disorders of the kidneys and bladder
- May help prevent cancer in organs and glands with epithelial tissue due to its high Vitamin A content.
JUICING INFORMATIONCantaloupe is great for juicing but can be especially in winter. You can juice your cantaloupe the following ways:
- Cut into strips and juice (Rind and all)
- Follow this recipe:
- 1 Cantaloupe
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup mint leaves
- 8 ice cubes
- 2 Tablespoons limejuice
- 1/8 seat salt
ORGANIC INFORMATIONCantaloupe is available organically throughout the year.