Crazy For Cantaloupes!
There’s nothing tastier than a sweet and juicy melon during the heat of Florida summers. The perfect melon to snack on during these hot days is a fresh from Florida cantaloupe! Cantaloupes are a part of the Cucurbitaceae or gourd family, being closely related to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash. The different varieties of cantaloupes grown in Florida are Ambrosia, Honey Rock, Galia, Athena, and Minnesota Midget. These melons are typically grown in Central Florida and the Panhandle.
Cantaloupes are not only yummy but healthy for you too! This melon provides a great source of vitamin C and potassium, while being low in sodium and calories. The potassium in these melons can help maintain proper fluid balance in the body, lower blood pressure, and even alleviate muscle cramps.
Fresh from Florida cantaloupes are in season and can be found in the grocery store from March through July. When shopping for a cantaloupe, choose a melon that is relatively firm and heavy for its size, free of any cracking, mold, or soft spots. An uncut melon will stay fresh for approximately seven to ten days and a cut melon will stay fresh in the refrigerator for approximately three to five days. It is important to always wash the outside of your cantaloupes before cutting them as bacteria can grow on the surface.
Cantaloupe is mostly eaten freshly cut all by itself. This melon is also great in yogurt parfaits, fruit salads, smoothies, or pureed for popsicles! Cantaloupe also pairs well with cottage cheese, lime, basil, and mint.
For your enjoyment, try out a cantaloupe recipe courtesy of Fresh From Florida!
Did You Know?
• Cantaloupes are named after the papal gardens of Cantalupo, Italy, where this specie of melon was supposedly first produced.
• A ripe cantaloupe will have a sweet, musky smell at room temperature.
• Cantaloupe plants usually are mature within 75-100 days after planting.
Content courtesy of Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services, IFAS, and Fresh From Florida.
Information compiled by: Avianna Liuzzo