A cantaloupe or netted melon is a special species of muskmelons. Historians say it was first grown in the papal garden of Cantaloupe, Italy, hence the name Cantaloupe. Americans love this summer fruit and they are behind the popularity of cantaloupe melon throughout the world.
Cantaloupe has been mentioned in history since Roman times, around 2,400 BC. It was Columbus, who introduced this fruit to the new world in one of his voyages.
Though cantaloupe is a muskmelon, it has a resemblance to squashes and is placed somewhere between summer and winter squashes according to their taste and nutrition.
While the peak season of cantaloupe is from June to August, it is available throughout the year in leading super markets. Texas is the leader in producing US Cantaloupe.
As mentioned earlier, cantaloupe or Cucumis melo, is the popular melon in America that comes with a netted khaki colored rind. However, cantaloupes that come from Europe have a rough warty surface.
Cantaloupes are picked when they are completely ripe. Remember, they don’t develop further once they leave their vine. The best way to judge a cantaloupe without cutting the fruit is examining the rind. The cantaloupe rind should be slightly golden. The stem end should have a slight indentation if picked properly in fully ripened condition. The blossom end will be slightly soft if the fruit is ready to eat, or you will have to keep it in the refrigerator.
Usually, cantaloupes that are sold in market are for immediate consumption, they don’t improve once they are cut. Ripe and cut cantaloupes are very difficult to keep in refrigerated condition even in tight plastic wrapping.
Cantaloupes are eaten in different ways. The first and best way of consuming this fruit is – cut and eat. You can cut this fruit in various interesting forms like halves, quarters, wedges and cubes. However, take out the seeds before eating.
A cantaloupe is high in water content and low in calorie count. It is a good source of beta-carotene and consists a high amount of potassium and Vitamin C.