The Foodie

Cantaloupe, melon

What’s Fresh in Early August: Cantaloupe

August 02, 2009
by Erin Harris
What better time to take advantage of summer’s natural treasures than during the hot, lazy days of August? Lucky for you, one of summer's most refreshing fruits is ripe in the first days of August: cantaloupe.


Cantaloupe, with its rough, webbed surface, is the most common variety of muskmelon in America. Muskmelons, which also include honeydew and casaba, are native to Persia, although today, most of our cantaloupes come from Arizona, California and Texas. Belly Bytes advises choosing cantaloupes with “khaki colored skin” and recommends washing them before cutting, to prevent bacteria from transferring from rind to flesh. For the juiciest, ripest fruit, allow melons to sit at room temperature for one to two days before consuming.

Cantaloupe contains beta carotene, which helps protect eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration. One quarter of the melon contains only 50 calories, but is brimming with 100 percent of the daily recommendation of vitamin A. The Sundia Corporation adds that it is “an exceptionally good fruit for supporting energy production,” thanks to all the B complex vitamins and fiber in each juicy slice.

Prosciutto and melon, a delicate and simple antipasto, has been gracing tables in Italy for years. For a heartier, French twist on the classic, Visual Recipes proposes tucking sliced cantaloupe, Serrano ham and hunks of Brie into a warm crêpe. The soft cheese will melt into the folds while sweet fruit acts as the perfect complement to savory ham. Or try this easy summer treat: slice a cantaloupe in half, scrape out the seeds, and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the center.

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