How To Cut A Cantaloupe

Pre-cut melons may be convenient, but they are pricey. Here is how to safely cut your own.

Cool, sweet hydration. That is what we long for during the dog days of a hot summer. Thankfully, our gardens, U-Pick Farms, and markets are filled with produce, both fruits and vegetables, that are bursting with mouthwatering juices that keep us satisfied.

While a delicious peach or berry is easy to work with, preparing a melon, such as cantaloupe, for a fresh fruit salad requires a little more work, which is why we are often tempted to purchase one pre-cut at the grocery store. Not only is this expensive, but you cannot guarantee that the melon inside the package will be good once you get it home.

Here is an easy method for cutting your own cantaloupe, which not only saves you money, but ensures you are buying a good melon.

Cantaloupes

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Choose A Good Cantaloupe

If you decide to cut your own melon, make sure you select a good one. There are a few things to look for when choosing a melon from the grocery store or the farmers' market:

  • As with picking any fruit or vegetable, avoid any cantaloupes that have soft spots or bruising. The fruit should feel firm all over, but not hard as a rock.
  • When a cantaloupe ripens, the rind lightens to a golden or tan color. If the rind is still mostly green underneath the raised texture on the surface, the cantaloupe could use more time to ripen.
  • Choose a fruit that feels heavy for its size.
  • Finally, use your sense of smell. When you gently press at the stem end of the melon, it should yield a bit and give off a slightly sweet and musky scent. If it smells fermented, your cantaloupe is overripe.

What To Do With An Unripe Cantaloupe

If you suspect your green, odorless cantaloupe isn't ripe, don't cut it just yet. Set your melon on the kitchen counter at room temperature for up to a week, and check its ripeness daily. The melon should continue ripening if it was harvested close to full maturity. If it was picked too early, your cantaloupe may get softer without getting much sweeter.

How To Cut A Cantaloupe

Now that your cantaloupe is ripe and ready to cut, let's get started. You will need a large, sharp knife (a serrated edge works well) and a clean cutting board.

  1. Wash the melon: You don't want the knife blade to transfer any bacteria from the outside to the interior of the melon.
  2. Dry the melon: Use a lint-free towel to thoroughly dry the outside of the melon.
  3. Cut the ends: Once you have dried the cantaloupe, cut a thin slice off of each end of the melon to create two flat surfaces.
  4. Remove the rind: Place one flat end of the melon on the cutting board, and start cutting away the rind. Run your knife down the side of the cantaloupe, moving in a c-shaped motion, cutting in wide strips until all of the rind has been cut away. Be careful not to cut away too much of the edible flesh. If some rind remains, go back around with the knife to clean it up.
  5. Halve it and remove seeds: Next, cut down through the center of the cantaloupe to create two halves, which will expose the seeds inside the melon. Use a spoon to remove the seeds from the melon, applying just enough pressure to remove the seeds without digging too far down into the melon.
  6. Slice it: Flip the cantaloupe halves over, and cut slices (all in one direction) on the melon, then cut slices in the other direction to create chunks.
  7. Serve immediately: Or store in an airtight container in your refrigerator.

This same technique can be used to cut a honeydew or another similar melon.

Other Methods For Cutting Cantaloupe

You can leave the rind on your cantaloupe if you want to bring a hand-held snack to a picnic or potluck. Simply skip step #4 and don't remove the rind. Then slice your wedges and store them in the fridge.

Use a melon baller if you want bite-sized balls to fancy up salads, drinks, or skewers. Simply cut your whole cantaloupe in half, remove the seeds, and then use your melon baller to scoop out spheres.

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