One of the most common excuses that people give me for not purchasing fresh produce is that they do not know how to prepare it. For fruits that are especially bulky, like cantaloupe or honeydew, the preparation process may be particularly intimidating, and this juicy, water-rich melon may end up being left behind instead of being added to the shopping basket. Cantaloupe is at its best from May to September when it can be easily found at both local farmer’s markets and large grocery stores.
Cantaloupe, like all melons, is made up of about 90% water which means that it is excellent for keeping hydrated during the hot summer months. In addition, one-half cup serving of cantaloupe contains only 25 calories and is high in vitamins A and C making it a nutritious addition to any meal or snack. Cantaloupe pairs especially well with mint and can be combined with cilantro, jalapenos, and onions to create a refreshing salsa.
When shopping, make sure to select a cantaloupe that is fragrant, heavy, and symmetrical. You should avoid any melons with bruises or soft spots on the outside. At home, you can store your cantaloupe at room temperature for several days; however, cut melon should be refrigerated to preserve freshness. Now, the million dollar question is… how do I cut a hefty cantaloupe or honeydew in the first place? Have no fear- the process is not as bad as it may seem! Just follow the steps below, and soon, cubes of juicy melon will be yours to enjoy.
Step 1: Rinse the outside of the melon to remove dirt.
Place rinsed melon on a cutting board, and grab a large, sharp knife to prepare yourself for cutting.
Step 2: Using your knife, cut the melon in half lengthwise.
Step 3: Use a table spoon to scoop the seeds out of the center.
Discard the seeds and any stringy attachments that were removed. Place one melon half on a separate plate to provide more prep space.
Step 4: Take one melon half and cut lengthwise into sixths.
If you are not comfortable judging what one-sixth of the melon is by sight, you can first cut the half melon in half again and then slice the two halves into thirds.
Note: If you do not want cubed melon, you can stop here and store the cantaloupe as hand-held slices instead!
Step 5: Carefully use your knife to remove the rind from each melon slice.
Try to cut as close to the rind as possible to avoid food waste. Discard the rind.
Step 6: Cut the rind-free melon slices width-wise to create bite-sized pieces.
Remove pieces from cutting board by storing in air-tight containers.
Step 7: Repeat steps 4-6 with the second melon half.
Step 8: Place lids on your melon containers, and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Enjoy your cantaloupe alongside a bowl of oatmeal and soymilk for a balanced breakfast or pair with a source of protein, such as almonds, for a healthy, filling snack!