Melon Seed Agua FrescaThis summer stay as cool as a cucumber by adding delicious, sweet and juicy cantaloupe to your diet. Cantaloupe, like cucumber, pumpkin and watermelon, is a member of the squash or gourd family. It’s a vine crop (a descendent of tropical plants) meaning it thrives in hot, humid climates.
How to Pick a Cantaloupe
The presence or condition of an attached stem is an excellent indicator of whether a melon was harvested mature. For honeydews and cantaloupes, the stem should be gone (detached cleanly and completely). Look for cantaloupe with a strong musky sweet fragrance. Note that refrigeration can sometimes mask melon fragrance. The “second” color under the surface netting can also indicate ripeness. Melons that are yellow or yellow-green as opposed to dark green are best. Always thoroughly wash the outside surface of melons before cutting them.Get Cooking June through August is peak cantaloupe season, so experiment with different recipes during the next few months. Here are some delicious ideas to get you started:
- Add to fruit salads and smoothies like in Melon Ambrosia or this refreshing Cucumber-Cantaloupe Green Smoothie.
- Purée and enjoy as a cold fruit soup garnished with strawberries and blueberries.
- Add to fruit or tomato salsa recipes; serve with grilled meat or fish, tofu or tempeh.
- Spoon over ice cream, frozen yogurt or your favorite non-dairy frozen dessert.
- Top cubed cantaloupe with Greek yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese or ricotta cheese.
- Cube or slice and serve over green vegetable salads.
- Freeze cubes for use in smoothies or as fruity “ice cubes” in sparkling water, sparking wine, juice or these fun Sangria Coolers.
- Use cantaloupe alongside or in place of honeydew melon in this Honeydew Green Tea recipe.
- Try Watermelon Aqua Fresca with cantaloupe.
- Serve tuna or chicken salad in a scooped out cantaloupe half.
- Cube and add to whole grain salads such as tabouli or quinoa salad.
- How about some Fresh Melon Salsa to top a chicken or turkey burger?
- Easy Pickled Melon is perfect for an outdoor picnic or barbecue. It is super simple to make and it’s great with hamburgers or served alongside cheese and crackers.
- Purée or cube and add to juice to make cantaloupe ice pops.
- Don’t forget the seeds! We love the creamy, rich texture of this Melon Seed Agua Fresca.
Can’t get enough cantaloupe? Got some great ideas or a favorite recipe? Let me know in the comments section below.