Muskmelon, Cantaloupe

Selecting Muskmelon, Cantaloupe

In general, look for melons that are evenly shaped with no bruises, cracks, or soft spots. Select melons that are heavy for their size; they tend to be juicier.

Cantaloupes should have a prominent light brown netting that stands out from the underlying smooth skin. If the stem is still attached, the melon was picked too early. Ripe cantaloupes have a mildly sweet fragrance. If the cantaloupe smells sickeningly sweet, or if there is mold where the stem used to be, it is probably overripe and quite possibly rotten. Cantaloupes continue to ripen off the vine, so if you buy it ripe, eat it as soon as possible.

Recognize a fully ripe cantaloupe by its slightly sweet smell.
Recognize a fully ripe cantaloupe by its slightly sweet smell.

Preparation and Serving Tips
Some people like melons only slightly chilled or even room temperature, but some choose to serve cantaloupe icy cold. A multicolored melon-ball salad topped with fresh, chopped mint makes a pretty dessert. Chilled melon soup is a refreshing change of pace in hot weather. And the natural cavity left in a cantaloupe after removing the seeds is a perfect place for yogurt or fruit salad. Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice onto cut melon for extra flavor.

In the next section, we'll explain the health benefits of muskmelon, cantaloupe.

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