Wednesday, May 23, 2012


It is no wonder that the cantaloupe with its refreshingly rich flavor and aroma and minimal number of calories is the most popular variety of melon in the United States.

The key to purchasing a good quality melon is to find one that is ripe, which is sometimes a challenge because oftentimes they are picked while still unripe in order to ensure that they make it through the shipping process undamaged. There are many clues that you can look for to find a melon that is ripe. If you tap the melon with the palm of your hand and hear a hollow sound, the melon has passed the first test. Choose a melon that seems heavy for its size, and one that does not have bruises or overly soft spots. The rind, underneath the netting, should have turned to yellow or cream from the green undertones that the unripe fruit has. The "full slip," the area where the stem was attached, should be smooth and slightly indented, free from remnants of the stem. The end opposite the full slip should be slightly soft, and you should be able to smell the fruit's sweetness subtly shining through, although be careful since an overly strong odor may be an indication of an overripe, fermented fruit.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas

- Add some sparkling water to fresh squeezed cantaloupe juice for a delightfully refreshing drink in the warm months of the year.
- In a blender or food processor, purée cantaloupe and peeled soft peaches to make delicious cold soup. Add lemon juice and honey to taste.
- Top cantaloupe slices with yogurt and chopped mint.
- Slice melons in half horizontally, scoop out seeds and use each half as a basket in which to serve fruit salad.

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