A true cantaloupe with orange flesh is recognized by its rough, marked ridges; it is rarely found in North America. The most widely cultivated variety is the Charentais melon. What North Americans call “cantaloupe” is in fact a variety of muskmelon.
The muskmelon is usually not ribbed, although several hybrids combine the characteristics of, although several hybrids combine the characteristics of the cantaloupe and the muskmelon. These very flavorful melons have salmon-pink or orange-yellow flesh.
Choose: A heavy melon with no bruises, marks or parts that are soft or moist.
Avoid: A soft melon with an abnormal color and a strong smell.
If the spot where the melon was attached to the plant is very hard and unevenly colored, or a part of the green stem is still present, this is a sign of immaturity. When mature, this part of the melon becomes flexible and the part opposite the stem emits a delicate scent.
Melons sound hollow when lightly tapped with the palm of the hand.
Cut the melon in half or in quarters.
Remove the seeds form the central cavity, but leave those in the part of the melon that is not being eaten (which keeps it fresh).
Serve melon as is, chop the flesh into cubes or take out balls of flesh using a melon baller.
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know that cantaloupe is an excellent source of potassium? Some people find melon difficult to digest, and some use it as a diuretic.