It’s summer melon season and I plan to take advantage of my fair share of luscious cantaloupes.
From June through August, cantaloupes are at their peak of flavor. Along with tasting great, they’re an excellent source of vitamin A, beta-carotene and vitamin C. Whether you enjoy them sliced, cubed or halved, cantaloupes are a refreshing, healthy addition to salads, desserts, beverages and more. Here are some of our favorite ideas:
- Halve, remove seeds and stuff with cottage cheese, blueberries and strawberries.
- Add to fruit salads. Here’s a delicious Fruit Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing and here’s a Minty Melon Salad, perfect for the season.
- Purée and enjoy as a beverage, or add to a favorite juice blend.
- Add to smoothies. Purée cantaloupe with lime juice and mint. To spice it, add a sliver of fresh ginger.
- Freeze cantaloupe cubes for use in smoothies or as fruity “ice cubes” in sparkling water or juice.
- Blend with fruit, yogurt or juice to make cold cantaloupe soup. Or, enjoy this Strawberry Melon Gazpacho.
- Serve with favorite frozen dairy or non-dairy ice cream dessert.
- Serve topped with yogurt, sour cream or ricotta cheese.
- Serve Cantaloupe with Prosciutto as an appetizer.
- Make Grilled Fruit Kabobs for dessert.
- Eat with a squeeze of lemon or lime.
- Slice and serve over green vegetable salads.
- Try this Summer Fruit and Spinach Salad.
- Serve as a side dish to grilled fish or chicken.
- Serve tuna, chicken or tofu salad in half a cantaloupe.
- Enjoy a Grilled Tofu and Melon Salad.
- Toss cubes of cantaloupe into whole grain salads. Consider tabouli with cantaloupe and blueberries for something wonderfully different.
Cantaloupes range in color from yellow-orange to a deeper, pink-orange salmon-like color. Choose melons that are heavy for their size with no soft spots or bruising. A ripe cantaloupe will be mildly flowery and fragrant. Be mindful that the surface of a cantaloupe can contain harmful bacteria. Always thoroughly wash before cutting and consuming.
Most ripe melons can be refrigerated for up to two or three days. Once cut, melons should be wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerated for no more than four days. Pre-cut melon should be eaten within three days. Here’s a little food trivia: after a worldwide search in 1941, a moldy cantaloupe sitting in a Peoria, Illinois market was found to have the best and highest quality penicillin. Pretty cool stuff!
Got a crush on cantaloupe? What about a favorite recipe? I’d like to know.