Cantaloupe is a popular fruit, usually found in the summer. Cantaloupes are known for their sweetness, so they are often eaten plain. But they make a great addition to fruit salads, smoothies, and desserts. Cantaloupes are low in calories and fat, making them a great snack during the summer months when you are looking for something refreshing to eat. The large seeds that are super easy to remove make them just more appealing!
Cantaloupes are a part of the melon family, and many people struggle to pick the perfect melon when in the grocery store. Cantaloupes can be a little hard to choose and store correctly, which is why we have come up with this guide to help you. You will find everything you ever need to know about buying and storing cantaloupes so that you can enjoy them this summer!
How to Choose a Perfect Cantaloupe
Cantaloupes come in different varieties and often don’t last very long if you don’t pick the right ones. Selecting the correct cantaloupe is just as much, if not more important, than storing them correctly. Below are a few simple steps that you can use to choose the perfect cantaloupe. There are three basic things that you need to focus on:
Look for a cantaloupe that has a primary beige color. You want a beige color on the raised portion, and on the dipped parts, you want a slightly green hue. Don’t pick entirely green cantaloupes, and avoid ones that have bruises on them.
The cantaloupe should feel pretty firm and should give in to pressure just a little bit. If it’s rock hard, it is yet to ripen, and if it’s soft, it is past its prime. A good cantaloupe will also feel pretty heavy for its size.
The final factor is the smell. You will get the fragrance of the cantaloupe near its stem. A ripe and sweet cantaloupe will give off a pleasant and sweet aroma.
How to Store Cantaloupe
Cantaloupes taste best when they are just the right amount of ripe. Too ripe, and they will be mushy and have a weird texture, and too unripe, they will be hard and not so sweet. Usually, the cantaloupes we purchase from the market are harvested off the vine when still a little underripe. The reason behind this is relatively straightforward; the cantaloupes continue to ripen even after being harvested.
Depending on the ripeness of the cantaloupes, the period for which they will last on your countertops will vary. If the cantaloupes are still quite underripe, you can store them right on your countertop for 8 – 10 days. Cantaloupes stored on the countertop ripen faster than they would in the refrigerator.
Remember to check the cantaloupe’s ripeness every other day if you are storing it on the countertop. You can use the squeeze test to check its ripeness. Once your cantaloupe is sufficiently ripe, you can use it immediately, or if you want to use it in a couple of days, move it to the refrigerator so that it doesn’t spoil.
To store the cantaloupe on the countertop, you can simply place it in a fruit basket or even directly on the countertop. If you want to hurry its ripening process, put it in a paper bag and fold the bag closed.
Cantaloupes in the Refrigerator
Again, depending on how ripe the cantaloupe is, the period for which they will last in the refrigerator will vary. If you store an unripe cantaloupe in the fridge, it can last 12 – 15 days. The refrigerator simply slows down the ripening process of the cantaloupe, which helps it in lasting longer. Even when stored in the fridge, you must check the ripeness of the fruit every other day.
Cantaloupes are weird because they need both the cold and moisture to stay fresh for a more extended period. For this reason, whenever you store whole cantaloupes in the refrigerator, store them in perforated plastic bags. You can either make your perforated bags or even buy them. If you are making your own bags, you can use a pen, a hole punch, or even use scissors to cut small holes in the bags.
If you have cut cantaloupes, you should use them within 3 hours or store them in the refrigerator, because if you stored them outside any longer than this, you risk bacterial growth on the cut fruit, which is unsafe to consume. If you are unsure how long the cantaloupe has been left out, simply discard it. Always remember, when in doubt, throw it out.
Cut cantaloupe that is stored safely in the refrigerator is safe for consumption for 3 – 4 days. After which, your cantaloupes are going to start to disintegrate. If you store cut cantaloupes in the refrigerator, leave the mushy part and seeds on the fruit slices. They will help in retaining the moisture in the fruit and stop it from drying out.
Always store the cut cantaloupe in an airtight container. If you are storing slices that are too large for the container, you can use re-sealable bags for storage instead. Take care that your refrigerator temperature is not below 10 degrees Celcius (50 degrees Fahrenheit), as your cantaloupes might bet freezer burn this way.
How to Identify if Your Cantaloupe Has Gone Bad
There are a few different checks that will help you identify if your cantaloupes have spoiled:
- The cantaloupe feels light and super soft: This means that your cantaloupe has overripened and is no good to eat. It’s better just to toss it at this point.
- There are large bruises on the fruit: Minor bruises on the cantaloupe are alright, but if you see that majority of the fruit is covered in bruises, you can go ahead and discard it.
- Slimy or moldy cantaloupe pieces: If your cut cantaloupe is not stored correctly, it might go bad. If you find the cut pieces slimy or notice any mold on the cantaloupe or the container you used to store it, discard it immediately.
- Damaged Stem: If the cantaloupe is oozing liquid around its stem; or is damaged such that the flesh is exposed to open air, discard the cantaloupe. Exposed flesh is a breeding ground for bacteria and other pathogens that cause food-borne illnesses.
Cantaloupe is one of the best fruit choices for your health, especially in the summer when it is in season. Its sweet and unique flavor makes it a favorite among many people, and if you have made it so far, it must be your favorite too! Use this blog post as your guide to enjoying your cantaloupes to the full this season!