Choosing and Storing Cantaloupes

Cantaloupes give many clues that they are ripe and ready to eat. You can easily identify a mature cantaloupe by examining its stem end. There should be a smooth circular indentation with no ragged edges. This signals that the fruit was harvested at the proper time.

The skin of a mature cantaloupe has a distinct texture that looks like netting. The skin beneath the netting should be more yellow than green and the melon should have a sweet scent. However, overripe melons are soft and smell too sweet.

If you can't find a perfectly ripe melon at the market, you should choose one that is getting close. Most cantaloupes will require two to four days of ripening at home. Leave the melon on the counter, away from heat and direct sunlight.

A ripe cantaloupe is yellow, fragrant, and yields slightly to pressure when you press it between your palms. If you aren't ready to use the ripe melon, you may store it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for about a week. The plastic bag prevents the exchange of odors among your food.

Cut melon is best stored in the refrigerator with seeds and skin still intact. Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap it should store for a few days.

Cantaloupes are abundant and less expensive in June, July, and August. For best texture and flavor, use these tips to choose and store your cantaloupes.