Fresh Pick: Cantaloupe

The juicy melon has more to offer than just rounding out a fruit salad. Step away from the melon baller and scoop up these ideas.

Photo by James Wojick

How to Buy

The best way to pick a cantaloupe is by smell. The fruit should have a sweet, slightly musky scent. A good cantaloupe feels heavy for its size, has a rind that resembles raised netting, and has a stem end that yields slightly when pressed with your thumb.

How to Store

Let a not-quite-ready cantaloupe ripen at room temperature for up to 2 days (keeping it in a closed paper bag will speed up the process). Refrigerate a whole ripe melon for up to 5 days. For cut wedges of cantaloupe, cover the surfaces and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (If possible, leave the seeds intact. They prevent the flesh from drying out.) Cubes without the seeds will last 1 to 2 days in a resealable container in the refrigerator.

How to Slice and Cube

Wash the rind, then slice off the bottom and top ends of the melon so that it sits squarely on a cutting board. With a knife, from top to bottom, cut away strips of the rind, following the shape of the fruit. Halve the fruit, scoop out the seeds, and slice or cube as desired.

5 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Cantaloupe

  • Cantaloupe Caprese Salad
    Arrange sliced cantaloupe and tomatoes on a platter. Top with halved bocconcini (small balls of fresh mozzarella). Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped mint, salt, and pepper.
  • Crackers with Cantaloupe, Ricotta, and Ham
    Top rye crackers with ricotta, sliced cantaloupe, sliced ham, salt, and pepper.
  • Cucumber and Cantaloupe Salad with Sesame Seeds
    Toss cut-up cantaloupe, sliced cucumbers, and sliced red onion with canola oil, rice vinegar, toasted sesame seeds, salt, and pepper.
  • Cantaloupe and Mint Slushy
    In a blender, puree cut-up cantaloupe with lemon-lime soda, mint, and ice.
  • Gingery Cantaloupe and Raspberry Parfaits
    Bring ½ cup water, ½ cup sugar, and 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger just to a boil; remove from heat and let cool. Drizzle over raspberry sorbet and cut-up cantaloupe.