October 23, 2018
How to Choose the Best Cantaloupe

How to Choose the Best Cantaloupe

by Berkeley Wellness  

Since cantaloupes have no starch reserves to convert to sugar, they will not ripen further once they have left the vine. They’re picked when they are ripe but still firm, to protect them during shipping. Invariably, some are picked too early, so it is important to know the characteristics of a ripe cantaloupe.

Unless the melon is cut, the only clue to ripeness is the condition of the rind. Cantaloupes should be slightly golden—not a dull green—under the rind’s mesh-like “netting,” which should cover the whole rind; reject those with slick areas.

The stem end should have a slight indentation (called a “full slip”) if the melon was picked at the proper stage. The melon should be firm, but not rock hard. The blossom end will be slightly soft if the melon is ready to eat and, unless the fruit is chilled, a flowery, sweet fragrance will be apparent. Cantaloupes may be football-shaped or spherical, and while it’s natural for the melon to be slightly bleached on one side from lying on the ground as it grew, it should not be flattened or lopsided.

If your market sells cut cantaloupes, the fruit should be perfect for immediate consumption, as it will not improve once it is cut. With cut melons, you can check the color and texture of the flesh and usually smell the delectable fragrance of a ripe melon even through the tight plastic wrapping.