6 Surprising Ways to Use Cantaloupe This Summer

Half a dozen unique ways to serve this refreshing summer fruit.

At their best, cantaloupes are tender, juicy, and sweet. At their worst, they’re the flavorless hunks you push aside in a fruit salad. How do you choose a good one every time? Look for a taut rind without bruises or cracks; the peel under the bumpy webbing should be golden. The melon should feel heavy for its size, and the blossom end, opposite the stem, should yield to slight pressure. Also, you need to sniff it. (Yes, be that person in the produce aisle.) It should smell sweet and almost floral. Have a winner? Eat it straight up, or use it in one of the following recipes. Its sweetness pairs well with salty meats and cheeses, and you can’t beat the peachy-keen color.

Solid as a rock?

If you end up with a hard, not-quite-ripe cantaloupe, give it a few days. A cantaloupe continues to ripen and sweeten at room temperature. Let it sit on a counter, or put it in a paper bag to speed up the process. Once it’s ripe, refrigerate it for up to 5 days (whole) or 3 days (cut, in an airtight container).

All in the family

Specialty melons with cantaloupe-like flesh and flavor abound in summer. Look for Charentais, Crenshaw, Gaya, Hami, Persian, and Sharlyn melons. These varieties will all work in the following recipes:

Vietnamese Pork Chops With Cantaloupe and Basil Salad Cantaloupe Cooler Cantaloupe-Berry Vanilla Ice Cream Bowl With Olive Oil

Vietnamese Pork Chops With
Cantaloupe and Basil Salad

Cantaloupe Cooler

Cantaloupe-Berry Vanilla
Ice Cream Bowl With Olive Oil

Cantaloupe Skewers With Lime Zest and Chili Powder Pasta Salad With Cantaloupe, Feta, and Dill Cantaloupe Prosciutto Plate

Cantaloupe Skewers With
Lime Zest and Chili Powder

Pasta Salad With
Cantaloupe, Feta, and Dill

Cantaloupe Prosciutto
Plate