Cantaloupe is one of the most popular melons in America. They are at their best from June through August, the juicy fruit’s peak season of ripeness, lushness, and all around freshness.
My favorite summer Cantaloupe Chiller is as follows:
- 1 cantaloupe, deseeded and rind removed
- 5-7 ice cubes
- 2 Tbs or less of honey or agave nectar
- A dash of cinnamon
Juice the cantaloupe and then mix with the ice, sweetener, and cinnamon
The cantaloupe is named after the Italian village of Cantalup, the birthplace of the first cultivation of this luscious fruit. It is also know as a “rock melon” in various parts of the world, presumably due to its outward appearance. The origins of the cantaloupe are thought to be India, Africa, or ancient Persia.
Cantaloupe gets an A for Awesome when it comes to nutritional density. And it also gets an A for Vitamin A due to the cantaloupes beta-carotene content, which can be used as beta-carotene or converted to Vitamin A in the body. One cup of cantaloupe provides over 100% of the daily value for Vitamin A, a vitamin that, along with beta-carotene, is vital for healthy vision. It is said that cantaloupe is necessary for healthy eyes and for the prevention cataracts. That same 1 cup serving is happily only 56 calories.
Cantaloupe is also a fantastic source for Vitamin C which powers up our immune system. Vitamin C is capital at rousing our white cells to fight infection and directly eliminates many bacteria and viruses. Vitamin C’s other super power is to revitalize Vitamin E after it has been forced into dormancy by free radicals. A one cup serving of cantaloupe contains over 110% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin C.
Cantaloupe also offers potassium, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, folate, and niacin (Vitamin B3). This combination provides for blood sugar stability through quality carbohydrates combined with fiber.
Choosing a Cantaloupe
Tap the melon with your hand, and if you hear a hollow sound, keep checking that ‘lope. If the melon feels heavy and does not have any bruises or soft spots, then you’re in good shape. The rinds color underneath the netting should be yellow or cream.
If a cantaloupe is firm, leave it at room temperature from one to several days as needed. The texture of the skin will soften yet not indent. The flesh of the fruit will become softer and juicier if the cantaloupe is allowed to ripen naturally.
Preparation and Storage
Bacteria can grow on the surface of a cantaloupe (and most melons for that matter), so wash the outside of the fruit before cutting into it for juicing or eating. Cut the cantaloupe in half and scoop out the seeds and netting. It is best to juice without the rind because the rind can clog up the juicer and doesn’t add any good flavor to the juice. Peel only the amount of cantaloupe you’ll be using and then cover the rest with plastic wrap and store in the fridge. The nutrients in cantaloupe stay active and close to 100% for up to six days as long as it is chilled.