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.

By Real Simple
Updated July 13, 2010

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

  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.