How to Pick a Cantaloupe That’s Sweet, Ripe and Ready to Eat
Cantaloupe is one of the sweetest treats of the summer, but is it just us or is the choice of the ideal melon intimidating? (Come on, they all look the same - and we were all burned by a mild one.) So pick a melon so that it is ripe and ready to eat when you get home from the store.
How to pick a melon:
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This is once you have full permission to touch and even sniff the fruits in the supermarket. Why? Because fragrance and feeling are the two best indicators of a ripe melon.
Smell: A ripe melon has a sweet, almost musky aroma. According to Harold McGees Keys to Good Cooking, a culinary scientist, you should try it by finding the end of the flower (it is opposite the end of the stem). If it smells sweet, fermented, or just smells bad, it's probably overripe.
Feeling: Stay away from melons that have mushy stains that are signs of rotting. A good melon feels firm but not rock hard. Press gently on the end of the flower and it should give way very easily. The most aromatic cantaloupes also feel heavy for their size and sound hollow and firm when tapped.
How to store a ripe (or unripe) melon:
If you can bring a ripe melon home, congratulations! Now put it in the fridge, stat. A ripe melon can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days before eating.
If the melon is not ready to be cut and served, don't worry. Just keep it on the countertop at room temperature for two or three days and check it daily for progress.
Will the melon ripen after you cut it?
You thought your melon was ready, so you cut it open ... only to find that it was hard and tasteless and under-ripe. Can't you just wrap it up and wait a few days for it to ripen?
Unfortunately, not. Once a melon is cut or sliced, it stops ripening. But don't throw it in the trash can yet! You can try using it as a base for a smoothie, dicing it into a salsa or chutney, or even grilling it to highlight some of the natural sweetness. (Look at yourself and reduce food waste.)
RELATED: 15 Cantaloupe Recipes Ready for the Melon Season
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