Cantaloupe is a tasty summer treat, and our list of tried and true cantaloupe recipes will help you make the most out of all of your melon deliciousness!
My very favorite way to eat cantaloupe is to…just eat it! I think there is nothing better on a hot summer day than a bowl of cool, refreshing, perfectly sweet melon.
But even I can only eat so much cantaloupe in a summer! So what do I do when I’ve hit my cantaloupe quota, but the plants in the garden haven’t quite gotten the message to quit? I start cooking with it! Some of my favorite cantaloupe recipes have been born out of an overzealous melon plant, and I can’t wait to get you cooking with my favorite melon!
How do you know when a cantaloupe is ripe?
This may sound (and look) a little silly, but you gotta sniff the end of a cantaloupe to know if it’s ready! Bring the stem end of the melon—the small circle that is indented where the stem was removed from the cantaloupe—right up to your nose and take a deep whiff. Does it smell like sweet, fresh, fragrant cantaloupe? If so, then you’ve got yourself a good one! If it doesn’t smell like much at all, or the smell is mild, keep sniffing until you find a winner.
If you’re growing your own cantaloupe, it can be tricky to know when it’s ripe, but here’s a trick: a perfectly ripe cantaloupe will easily separate from the vine on its own. No twisting, no cutting, no tug-of-war with your melon—when it’s ripe, it’ll simply break away from the vine with the smallest of pulls at the vine connection spot.
Do cantaloupes keep ripening after they are picked?
While cantaloupe won’t get any sweeter once it is harvested, it will continue to get softer and juicier even after it is picked. So if you end up with an under-ripe melon, you can stash it in a paper bag for a few days to hurry things along.
How long will fresh cantaloupe keep?
Cut cantaloupe will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days. How long an uncut cantaloupe will store depends a lot on how old it was when you brought it into your kitchen. If it’s fresh-picked from your backyard garden, unblemished cantaloupes will easily store 10-14 days. A grocery store cantaloupe that had to travel a =while after picking might only last 2-3 days on your countertop. It’s best to judge the quality of your cantaloupe by touch (the rind should still be firm) and taste. Cantaloupes and other melons tend to ferment when they go bad—so if your ‘loupe tastes slightly boozy, you know it’s been left too long and to toss it in the compost.
Can I freeze cantaloupe?
You certainly can! In fact, two of our favorite cantaloupe recipes (more on those in a sec) call for freezing.
To freeze cantaloupe—or any other melon—remove the rind and scoop out the seeds. Cut into bite-size pieces, and pack into freezer bags or containers to freeze.
Heads up, though: melon will lose a lot of its crisp, juicy texture after freezing, so you won’t want to eat it straight-up or in a melon salad. Instead, you’d be best served using it in smoothies, juices, or frozen cocktails—recipes where you’re just going for cantaloupe flavor, not texture!
What tastes good with cantaloupe?
Fresh, summertime cantaloupe is so unbelievably sweet that it’s often best paired with something savory or salty. In fact, one of my favorite ways to eat cantaloupe is with a salt shaker at the ready! Pair cantaloupe with salty meats like prosciutto, or rich cheeses like aged cheddar.
What are some good cantaloupe recipes?
When the first few cantaloupes start coming off in the garden, we can’t help but just eat it on its own as a side dish or dessert with every meal. But as the harvest picks up and we start drowning in melon, we start using it in drinks and salads, and even like to preserve it as a jam! Here are our favorite cantaloupe recipes:
This is, without a doubt, the tastiest use for frozen cantaloupe. If your melon is perfectly ripe, you won’t even need any added sweetener.
The salt in this jam really helps to bring out the cantaloupe flavor. Follow our instructions for how to can the jam, or stash it in the freezer or fridge for immediate use.
Summer is the only time to make this salad, because you’re really relying on the flavor of the melon. It is a colorful and fresh addition to summer cookouts.
The watermelon basil-infused water is also really good with cantaloupe, and is an excellent way to stay hydrated on hot summer days.