Sweet Melon and Cantaloupe
Cantaloupes and other summer melons serve as the quintessential take-along snack for summer picnics and braais. The mildly sweet and juicy flavour of melon makes it the perfect fruit for even the pickiest of palates. Melons are also commonly known as spanspek (in South Africa), mush melons, rock melons and Persian melons. They are a member of the botanical family Cucurbitaceae, along with honeydew and watermelons.
In South Africa, sweet melon is usually available from spring (September) all the way through to May.
How to choose?
In the markets, try to buy organically produced musk melons since they are richer in taste as well as in nutrients. Oftentimes, it could be difficult to judge the ripeness and taste without checking out a wedge section of the melon. Look for one that feels heavy for its size with a clean rind and without any cuts or bruises on the surface, which might have occurred while transporting the fruit.
How to prepare?
To extend shelf life, wash cantaloupes just before use. The bumpy rind can harbour bacteria, so scrub the whole melon thoroughly with a vegetable brush under running water and pat dry. Cut off the stem end about 3/4 inch from the end. Place the melon cut- end down on a cutting surface. Cut the melon in half, then gently scrape out the seeds with a spoon and enjoy as long pieces or in smaller chunks.
How to store?
At home, place melons in cool, well-ventilated places. Cut sections, however, should be kept inside the refrigerator in a container or ziplock bag.
A quarter of a melon contains just 50 calories and a full 100% of your recommended daily intake of both vitamin C and Vitamin A, an important nutrient for smooth, younger-looking skin. And, like most melons, cantaloupe has a high water concentration, which means that it will help you to stay hydrated and keep you feeling full until lunchtime.