Cantaloupe and Honeydew: The Sweet Flavors of Summer
How itâ€™s grown:
- Cantaloupe and honeydew are part of a family known as muskmelons. These melons are grown in hot and dry climates with moist soil.
- About 75% of all cantaloupes available in the U.S. are grown in California.
- Melons are in season from April through December.
- Honeydew melons are mostly grown in California and Arizona, and are also imported from China and Turkey.
How to shop for it:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
- Melons should smell sweet and musky, a good indicator of ripeness.
- Pick melons that are firm, yet which give slightly when pressed.
- Avoid melons with visible bruising or discoloration. The netted rind of the melon should be a rich cream color.
- When cantaloupes are ripe, they gradually slip from their vines, so choose fruit that does not have any part of the vine intact. The stem area should be smooth.
How to store it:
- Uncut melons can be stored on the counter at room temperature for up to one week from purchase.
- If cutting melons for later use, store slices in an airtight container or plastic bag, then place into the fridge immediately. Use within one week.
How to prepare it:
- Clean the outside of the melon under running water, using a soft scrub brush if desired. You can also use a mild fruit wash, or a solution of 5 parts water and 1 part vinegar.
- Use sharp, clean paring knife to cut the melon into quarters, so that each piece of fruit faces upwards on the cutting board.
- Cut the fruit away from the rind where the flesh starts to turn pale.
- You can then cut the slices into cubes, balls (using a melon baller) or simply serve them as they are.
How to eat it:
- Melons are delicious on their own, added to fruit salad or as an ingredient in salsa or gazpacho.
- Honeydew tastes great alongside tea. Try pureeing ÂĽ cup of honeydew, then add 2 cups green tea and ice. Blend to desired consistency and add dairy or nondairy whipped cream if desired.
- Puree 1 cup honeydew or cantaloupe with ÂĽ cup agave nectar and pour into popsicle molds with a stick. Freeze overnight for a refreshing treat.
- Pureed honeydew can be combined with mint, lime, cucumber and dairy or nondairy milk for a light, chilled soup.
- As with most fruit, cantaloupe and honeydew have high water content and are a low-calorie choice.
- Melons are fat free, cholesterol free and very low in sodium.
- Cantaloupe is high in vitamin A and beta carotene, and contain potassium. Honeydew and cantaloupe are high in vitamin C.