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Give it a whiff!
The first thing you'll want to do is smell your cantaloupe. It's ripe if it gives off a sweet, slightly musky cantaloupe smell. If it smells unpleasant or gives off no scent at all, the melon is either underripe or overripe.
Scope it out
Look for a cantaloupe that has a yellow/golden colored skin. Green patches mean that your melon is not yet ripe.
Check out the stem-end
Your melon is likely unripe if the stem is still attached. Ripe cantaloupes easily separate from the stem when they are picked. Look for a stem-end that is sunken in slightly like an "inny" bellybutton. If it looks more like an "outie," your cantaloupe isn't ripe.
Examine the blossom-end
Don't be shy—flip that melon over to the other end. Gently press on the cantaloupe with your thumb. A ripe melon will give slightly under pressure, while an underripe cantaloupe will feel very firm to the touch.
Hold it in your hands
If the cantaloupe feels weighty and dense for its size, it's likely juicy and ripe.
Unlike some other melons, cantaloupe will continue to ripen after it's picked! If you accidentally get an underripe one from the supermarket, just let it sit on your counter for a couple of days. It should ripen up in no time.
Seasonal Recipe Ideas
- Sweet treats: Mix diced cantaloupe in fruit salad or make grilled fruit kabobs by sliding chunks of cantaloupe onto a skewer alongside mango and honeydew melon. You can also blend up cantaloupe with mint to make a sweet granita.
- Savory treats: Try cantaloupe balls wrapped in prosciutto or cantaloupe chutney on fish. Or add pureed melon to your favorite soup for a sweet kick.