Test the melon by smelling it at the end opposite the stem end. If it is wonderfully fragrant with the earthy aroma of sweet, ripe cantaloupe, it is ready! The stem end of a ripe cantaloupe usually will give, ever so slightly, when pressed.
If not quite ripe, leave on the counter for a day or two.
Before cutting the melon, scrub the outside rind with a vegetable brush. This will prevent your knife from carrying any potential bacteria into the cantaloupe flesh when you cut it.
Refrigerate uncut, whole cantaloupe for 5-7 days. Once cut, wrap or put into a sealed container, and refrigerate. If you leave the seeds on the flesh until ready to serve, the cantaloupe will last longer –about 3 days. If you remove the seeds, it will dry out and lose flavor more quickly, so should be used within 1-2 days.
Cantaloupe seeds are edible!
If you are blending or pureeing the melon to make a soup or beverage, just leave the seeds on and throw them in too! They are absolutely LOADED with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. A recent study showed the nutritional content to be the same as soy milk, which is prompting new research for using the seeds in infant formula.
You can roast them for a snack or garnish like you would pumpkin seeds- just remove as much of the attached fibers as possible and toss with a tsp. of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place single layer on a parchment paper lined, rimmed baking sheet and roast in a pre-heated 200° oven until lightly browned- about 10-20 minutes.
Melon seeds are widely used in Indian cuisine for baking, and in cereals and drinks. A paste made from the seeds is also used as a thickener for sauces.
Liz Talley, Urban Graze
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