Now you may wonder why I am writing about cantaloupe when they are at their peak for flavor from June through August and November is only days away. Well, let me tell you. Granted we are way past the peak season for flavor, however, even when the pickins are slim one can find a cantaloupe or two that still satisfies the ole’ taste buds.
Also known as a muskmelon, a cantaloupe with its outer rough skin - not exactly the prettiest though once cut, its mild flowery fragrant self reveals the most cheerful shade with a soft juicy goodness too good to resist. Its orange flesh is packed with numerous nutritional benefits to include beta carotene, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fiber and potassium to name a few. All to help promote a healthy body. Too, with a high water content - 90% - not only does it help ward off dehydration, it is also low in calories so why not indulge in its sweetness.
The easiest way to eat a cantaloupe is to peel, remove seeds and chow down but why stop there! Cantaloupes make a colorful addition to fruit salads, salsas, smoothies and fruit kebabs. Tired and true the ole cantaloupe doesn’t disappoint… that is, of course, if luck is not on your side and you happen to get one that is moderately unripe. As the ole saying goes, waste not want not takes us to being a bit more creative in how we serve up our underripe cantaloupe.
Don’t let a slightly underripe cantaloupe deter. As the cantaloupe used in the Cantaloupe Bacon Pasta recipe posted in February was slightly underripe, so was the cantaloupe in the recipe I share today for Basil Cantaloupe Popsicles. Adding a wee bit of this with a little of that and one would never guess the cantaloupe was not at its peak flavor.
Now if you are thinking warmer foods for November - possibly due to living in a colder region then us folk here in sunny Florida where popsicles can still be enjoyed then I say skip making popsicles. Instead take the same mixture and add some vodka. This makes for a delightfully tasty cocktail. Either way will not dissatisfy. Enjoy!
TIPS ON PICKING A RIPE CANTALOUPE
- Cantaloupe should feel heavier then you might expect.
- Tap on the cantaloupe. Listen to the sound it makes. Dull and deep another indication it is ripe. Higher, more hallow it’s not ripe.
- Press gently with your thumb on the top (the stem end where it was attached to the vine) it will give way ever so slightly.
- Take a whiff. Smell the bottom, opposite from where the stem is attached - go for the blossom end and it should have a slightly sweet aroma.