How to Pick the Perfect Sweet Cantaloupe: 5 Tips
How to Pick a Cantaloupe
Nothing is worse that running home with what you thought was a sweet, ripe cantaloupe - only to find it is inedible. It can be tricky to find a great one and since they do not ripen further once you get home, it becomes a one shot deal.
But first, why would you want to fool around with such a melon anyway? Well, here are some of the many healthy benefits:
Health Benefits of a Cantaloupe
Believed to have originated in Africa, cantaloupe is an excellent source of vitamins A, B6, and C. It is rich in beta-carotene, which could lower the risk of cancers of the esophagus, larynx, and lungs. This delicious fruit also contains potassium, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamine, and is an excellent source of fiber. It is also believed to promote cellular antioxidant activity and protect against cell death.
Eating cantaloupe has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, has anti-inflammatory properties and a cantaloupe extract can be effective in the prevention of diabetic nephropathy—a progressive kidney disease.
And of course you want to pick the best one.
5 Tips for Picking the Best Cantaloupe:
- Aroma: A sweet cantaloupe should smell sweet. There should be an overall sweet smell but I get the absolute best melon by putting my nose close to that small round circular spot on the bottom where the stem has detached. If it doesn't smell super sweet here I don't buy it.
- The Stem: Should no longer be attached. A ripe melon will naturally detach its stem. Any bit of a stem attached means that the farmer cut off the melon too soon.
- Feel: A good cantaloupe should feel firm but never rock hard. Nor should it ever be soft and certainly not squishy in any spot.
- Appearance: That large smooth yellowish spot or patch on the surface shows where the cantaloupe was resting on the ground. That yellowish spot shows that the melon is ripe.
- Compare: A good cantaloupe should feel heavy. Compare the weight of cantaloupes. Pick up more than one and take the one that is the heaviest.
Remember: it will not ripen further once it has been picked off the vine.
Extremely Important Note: Always thoroughly wash the cantaloupe before cutting it - the skin can contain bacteria considered harmful.