My mom’s friend Sandy and her husband have a farm stand in Virginia. He does the farming; she runs the stand. My husband and I visited it this summer. They had a couple of large bins filled with cantaloupe. I asked Sandy to help me pick out a good, sweet one.
She started picking up the melons and sniffing them. She handed me one and said that it seemed like a good one but she wasn’t sure. She picked up another and gave it to us in case the first one wasn’t sweet. We picked out beautiful tomatoes, green beans and blue potatoes. We must have gotten the friend discount because she only requested a 10 spot.
On the way out, she ran to our car with yet another cantaloupe. “Just in case,” she said. With that, it became our favorite farm stand.
Smelling a cantaloupe is the best way to tell if it is ripe. It should have a pleasantly sweet aroma. If it has too strong of a fragrance, the melon most likely will be overripe.
Also look at the color underneath the netting on the skin. A ripe melon will be creamy white or yellow. Green indicates that the melon isn’t completely ripe. An unripe cantaloupe will ripen on your kitchen counter, but it doesn’t get sweeter. My understanding that for the sweetest melons, it is best to pick ones that have ripened in the field.
You’ll also want a melon that feels heavy for its size, is firm and doesn’t have any soft spots. Soft spots are a sign that it is overripe or has been bruised.
When preparing cantaloupe, it’s important to wash the outside before cutting. Whatever is on the outside can be transferred to the melon’s flesh when it’s cut. Wash the melon under running water and use a vegetable brush to gently scrub it.
Cantaloupes sport a bit of health prowess. One of my favorite sites for nutrition information is the World’s Healthiest Foods. It is well-sourced and gives nutritional profiles on everything from soy sauce to lima beans. It also makes me want to eat whatever it is I’m researching.
For example, the site gushes about the health properties of cantaloupe. Cantaloupe is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, a very good source of potassium and a good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber, folate, and niacin (vitamin B3). According to the site, eating cantaloupe promotes lung health, protects your vision and reduces risk of death from heart disease, stroke and cancer. Wow, it’s a veritable wonder drug! Give me some!
As I was looking for recipes, I started wondering why you rarely see any recipes for cooked cantaloupe. I’m guessing it’s because cooked cantaloupe doesn’t sound appealing. I imagined that it would tastes a bit like overly ripe cantaloupe, which, in my opinion, can be summed up in one word: yuck.
Actually, cooked cantaloupe tastes a bit like cooked pumpkin. That’s no wonder since they are close cousins both haling from the Cucurbitaceae family. This explains why cantaloupe worked great in a sweet quick bread but my cantaloupe cobbler experiment didn’t go so well. My husband said that he liked it but I wonder if that is just something a sweet husband tells his wife to keep on her good side.
1 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup coconut oil or melted unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
2 cup cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and chopped (see note)
- Heat oven to 350º F.
- Greased and flour an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together coconut oil, egg, honey, milk and vanilla and add to flour mixture.
- Place cantaloupe in a food processor and pulse a few times, until finely chopped. You may also either finely chop the cantaloupe or mash it with a potato masher.
- Add cantaloupe and nuts to mixture and mix until combined.
- Turn mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes.
- Cool and serve.
Note: Cantaloupe 101- After washing the melon, slice it in half and scoop out the seeds. Slice into wedges then carefully cut the orange flesh away from the rind.
I’m sharing this recipe on:
The Nourishing Gourmet