How to Pick a Cantaloupe (Plus How to Use One)

The juicy melon has more to offer than just rounding out a fruit salad. Learn how to pick a ripe cantaloupe—plus get tips for storing one, using one, and more.

Few tastes are sweeter than that of a good cantaloupe—but picking that ripe cantaloupe from the bin or pile at the store is easier said than done. Fortunately, you can avoid the disappointment of a less-than-delicious melon with our guide to picking, storing, and using cantaloupe.

How to Pick

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 two days (keeping it in a closed paper bag will speed up the process). Refrigerate a whole ripe melon for up to five days. For cut wedges of cantaloupe, cover the surfaces and refrigerate for up to three days. (If possible, leave the seeds intact. They prevent the flesh from drying out.) Cubes without the seeds will last one to two days in a resealable container in the refrigerator.

How to pick cantaloupe - how to pick ripe cantaloupe, store cantaloupe, ripen cantaloupe, and more (sliced cantaloupe)
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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

  1. 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.
  2. Crackers with Cantaloupe, Ricotta, and Ham: Top rye crackers with ricotta, sliced cantaloupe, sliced ham, salt, and pepper.
  3. 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.
  4. Cantaloupe and Mint Slushy: In a blender, puree cut-up cantaloupe with lemon-lime soda, mint, and ice.
  5. 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.
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