If you want to learn how to choose a cantaloupe, then read more in this article.
Cantaloupes are nutritious, juicy fruits meant to be enjoyed during summer. But if the process of choosing a perfect cantaloupe gives butterflies in your stomach, then this article is just what you have been looking for.
This guide will sail you smoothly through the process of how to choose a cantaloupe and make you an expert in it.
1. How To Choose A Cantaloupe?
So, exactly how to choose a cantaloupe? Choosing a delicious ripe cantaloupe from the pile of melons may seem no less than winning a battle.
Nothing can be done to rectify the mistake of cutting an unripe cantaloupe, and you will be set in a gloomy mood with an unripe, bitter, and bland cantaloupe to ponder over. Hence, it is imperative to master the techniques required to pick a cantaloupe that is the best out of the pile.
Before we jump upon choosing a ripe cantaloupe, it is vital to learn more about this power-packed fruit loaded with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
1.1. Cantaloupes V/s Muskmelons
Cantaloupes are easy to digest, watery, ripe melons packed with nutrition. They belong to the Cucurbitaceae family, along with honeydew melons, cucumbers, etc. They are also called “Rockmelons” and are often confused with muskmelons.
All the cantaloupes are contained in muskmelons, but not all muskmelons are categorized as cantaloupes. Muskmelons belong to the melon family and include honeydew, cantaloupes, watermelon, etc.
Some parameters used for their classification are as follows:
1.1.1 Size & Weight
Muskmelons are smaller in size and lighter in weight as compared to cantaloupes.
Muskmelons are often found in oblong or round shapes. The outer surface has a netted texture, and the outer rind is generally found in light green, yellow, or orange color. Cantaloupes are generally round with pale yellow or light brown outer skin.
Muskmelons are sweeter as compared to cantaloupes. The increased water content in muskmelons than cantaloupes could be the reason for the same.
Muskmelons give a strong, rich fragrance when they turn ripe, while cantaloupes have a milder fragrance in comparison to them.
1.2 Essential Tips On How To Choose A Cantaloupe?
There might be various occasions when you are waiting to dig your teeth into this amazing ripe cantaloupe, only to land up with disappointment at a later stage. Once cut, an unripe, tasteless, mushy cantaloupe cannot be repaired later and has to hit the garbage bin.
To avoid such circumstances, we have crafted a list of strategies on how to choose a cantaloupe. There are various key elements to consider while deciding on how to choose a good cantaloupe.
The first and foremost tip while choosing a cantaloupe is to look for a fragrant melon. You need to check the smell of the cantaloupe at the flower end, not the stem end, by placing your nose just beneath it.
The best indicator of a ripe cantaloupe is a strong, sweet smell indicating the ripeness of the fruit.
In contrast, an unripe cantaloupe will not generate any smell, giving evidence that it is not sweet and unripe. A cantaloupe that has over-ripened will give out a musty or acidic smell.
1.2.2 Look At The Stem
You need to look at the stem of the cantaloupe during the decision-making process of choosing a cantaloupe.
In the first case, if you can see the stem, give the cantaloupe a miss, as it implies that the cantaloupe was picked up too early from the field, even before its maturity.
An inverted stem similar to an innie belly button proves that cantaloupe is fine to purchase. Look for a deeper indented belly bottom; the chances of the cantaloupe being ripe and sweet will be higher.
If you are picking up a cantaloupe directly from the fields, try pulling out the cantaloupe from the plants. If it resists, give the cantaloupe a few more days to enjoy its plant’s company and try again later. The trick lies in loosening or breaking the stem to signify the right time to pick up the cantaloupe from the vine.
1.2.3 Check My Colour
The color of the cantaloupe is the best indicator when choosing it. Aim to look out for a nice golden-yellow or orange color, ignoring the rough spots that do not link with the flavor of the fruit.
If the color of the cantaloupe is greenish, it is a red flag never to buy the cantaloupe because it is unripe. There is also a high chance that it will never ripe, probably because it is picked up early from the field.
1.2.4 Touch Me
The edges of the rind of the cantaloupes should be rough and not smooth. Smooth skin indicates that the cantaloupe is not ripe.
The cantaloupe should be firm, but at the same time, it should not be rock solid. You should feel the soft spots. If there are a lot of soft spots, then the cantaloupe may have been overripe.
A few soft spots are good to go with as long as it is still a little firm. But you should try to consume it with immediate effect in a day or two.
A heavy cantaloupe determines its ripeness. Pressing the bottom of the cantaloupe helps to determine its ripeness. If the cantaloupe bounces back after pressing it, it is the best time to cut it as it has fully ripped.
An unripe cantaloupe will not be pressed at all. An overripe cantaloupe will leave an indentation; hence, you should never pick up that cantaloupe.
1.2.6 Use The Tap Method
Like a watermelon, you can use the tap method to determine whether the cantaloupe is ripe. After tapping the outside of the cantaloupe, if you hear a low, solid sound, it implies that the cantaloupe is ripe.
However, hearing a hollow sound generally signifies that the cantaloupe is on the verge of getting mushy, and you should abstain from buying such cantaloupes.
Another way of picking up the best cantaloupe is by picking it up and shaking it. The cantaloupe is ripe enough to buy if it makes a rattling sound.
1.2.7. Shape Matters
Always aim to pick a cantaloupe that has a perfect oblong or round shape. You should bypass cantaloupes, which do not have a symmetrical shape.
Also, one needs to check for punctures and dents on the cantaloupes and move on to the next one if present.
1.2.8 Fruit Flies and Insects
If you see pesky creatures like fruit flies and insects hovering over the cantaloupes, there is a sign of decay, and it is better not to risk buying such cantaloupes.
1.2.9. Bruises and Discoloration
A good quality cantaloupe will generally be devoid of black or brown patches on it. However, do not jump instantly if you spot whitish discoloration or the cantaloupe blemished on the spot.
It is probably the place where the cantaloupe is resting on the ground. This discoloration is normal and has no relation with the flavor of the fruit.
1.3 Health Benefits
Cantaloupe is rich in nutrients and has ample health benefits for your body.
1.3.1 Low In Calories
Cantaloupes are watery fruits due to the high water content in them. They also have a low count of calories and help to reduce weight.
1.3.2. Relief In Dehydration
Cantaloupes act as great rehydrating agents during summer. They provide instant relief to the dehydrated individual.
1.3.3 Loaded With Vitamins And Minerals
Cantaloupes are rich in beta carotenes, which contain vitamin A. Vitamin A improves the vision of individuals. Hence, incorporating it into your diet as a mandatory fruit will yield major benefits.
1.3.4. Useful For Your Skin
Cantaloupes help to keep your skin healthy and give a glow to your skin. They also maintain skin textures and minimize wrinkles. You can also use them for treating burns.
1.3.5 Good For Your Heart And Blood
The ripe melon consists of a compound called adenosine, which stimulates the blood thinning process. The melon also assists in keeping your blood pressure under control.
Cantaloupes are good for your heart, too. The presence of folate reduces the risk of heart attacks. The fiber content of sweet cantaloupes helps to reduce bad cholesterol levels.
1.3.6 Supplement In Curing Various Diseases
Cantaloupes act as a supplement in curing various diseases. People with hypertension should try to include cantaloupe in their diet.
Cantaloupes are rich in Vitamin C, which contains powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants slow down the painful process of arthritis and help to reduce the pain in joints and knees.
1.3.7. Boosts Immunity
Children, in general, often fall ill due to low immunity levels. Cantaloupes contain special compounds called phytonutrients, which boost immunity and help fight many diseases.
Hence, including cantaloupes in their food plate will help to raise their immunity levels.
1.3.8 Prevents Constipation And Improves Digestion
If you suffer from constipation problems, including cantaloupe in your diet is advisable. The reason being their watery content and high presence of dietary fiber.
Dietary fiber is known to bulk up the stool and make bowel movements regular, which in turn helps to improve your digestive system.
1.4 How To Cut And Store?
It is vital to wash the ripe cantaloupe under running water with a brush and rinse it well. This removes bacteria from the rind of the cantaloupe and will also deter transferring various germs to the inner flesh through the knife and thereby prevent various illnesses.
You can slice it into cubes or chunks or even style it as cantaloupe bowls and enjoy the sweet flavor of your perfect cantaloupe.
Cantaloupes can be sliced into small cubes or chunks and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Refrigeration slows down the ripening process. So, if you refrigerate your cantaloupe, you can enjoy your perfect melon for longer. Also, placing your ripped cantaloupe in the fridge helps to keep it crisp and prevents attacks by bacteria.
At room temperature, cantaloupes can be stored for up to three days. Keeping the seeds intact will help to retain the moisture of the fruit.
You can also freeze your perfect melon for three months to six months by slicing it and storing it in air-tight containers.
However, freezing has the drawback of losing its original structure when thawed. But that should not stop you from using it to make smoothies, juices, soups, cocktails, etc
1.5 Side Effects
- Cantaloupes contain potassium. Excessive eating of cantaloupes can damage your kidneys. It can also risk the chances of heart attacks.
- Having cantaloupes to eat in abundance is bad for your intestines and may cause digestive issues like stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.
- People having diabetes type 2 should be careful while consuming cantaloupe. They should get advice from their doctor for the prescribed limit of intake of cantaloupe.
- Allergies caused by cantaloupes are very rare. An allergy can occur when a substance in cantaloupe is classified as harmful by the immune system. Symptoms of allergies include face swelling, itchy mouth, trouble breathing, etc.
Although cantaloupes are useful as a supplement in fighting many diseases, it is equally important to consult a doctor regularly for any medical conditions.
Thus, the benefits of cantaloupes far exceed the side effects. So, including it in your diet will pave your way to a healthy lifestyle.
Various recipes like soups, fruit salads, desserts, smoothies, and side dishes can be made from cantaloupes as per your preference. Smoothies are perfect evening snacks for children to refresh them.
Also, now that you are familiar with how to choose a cantaloupe, access to a nice cantaloupe dessert will help to enlighten the mood of everyone at home after a tiring day at work. This article covered everything on “how to choose a cantaloupe “.
Preeti Chavan is an ambitious writer who wants to gain expertise in the field of writing and has interests in the fields of health, environment, childcare, home decor and fashion.