How to Choose a Cantaloupe

12 Jun

Whole Foods set up their melon display just perfectly for me to give you a little lesson in cantaloupe selection. Choosing melons is always tough–and you’ll never truly know what you got until you’ve sliced it open–but this little tip I learned back in culinary school totally works for cantaloupes. And no, it doesn’t include thumping it…

See how the melon on the left still has some stem attached? And the one on the right has a smooth “stem scar.” Apparently when cantaloupes are ready to be picked, they self detach from the vine. Therefore, if your cantaloupe still has a bit of stem on it, it was picked too early. Now this doesn’t necessarily guarantee a perfect melon. Other factors, such as the variety, also contribute. But this will get you close, I promise!

When choosing melons in general, always look for one that’s heavy for it’s size and that has a nice smell. Have you heard employed any strange methods in choosing melons? In watermelons, I’ve learned that a good “ground scar” is important. (That’s the patch of yellow on the side the melon sat on the ground, indicating a longer time ripening in the field.) For honeydews, I always shake them to see if the seeds are loose. If they are, you can hear them and it’s supposed to be ripe. But I have know idea if that’s really true…

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