Monday, August 15, 2011

Confession from a melonhead…

  • I must confess that on Wednesday at 4PM, when we release the Cantaloupe Wheat, there won't be any Cantaloupe in it.   We Americans have come to call our Muskmelons, "cantaloupes", so much that it is official accepted to call them "Cantaloupes" and anything with orange melon flesh, for instance "Rockmelons".  (scroll to bottom of blog for a pic of a real European Cantaloupe)These melons (yes, fruit) come from the species of Cucumis Melo.  If you want other little known facts about this melon, read on:


  • The cantaloupes of Europe were originally non-netted and had deep ridges (like the honeydew melon)
  • First cultivated by the Egyptians
  • name comes from the "Gardens of Cantaloupo" near Tivoli, where they were once cultivated
  • Our netted version came from France around 1881 (who also brought us the honeydew 20 years later)
  • not surprisingly the melon is about 90% water (but who is knocking it, is beer)
  • Part of the same species as the Armenian Cucumber
  • high in potassium, vitamin A and folate
  • so rare in Japan that they can pay between $30-$70 US dollars for them
  • Europeans are known to refer to them as "pepo"
  • first brought to the New World on Columbus' 2nd journey
  • Cantaloupe Island" - Herbie Hancock on Blue Note in 1964
  • smashing

There are also many uses for muskmelons (aka Cantaloupes):

  • eaten as just fruit
  • eaten as a dried fruit
  • put on skewers with other fruit
  • used in desserts like pie
  • liquors
  • Stews
  • jams
  • salsa
  • soup
  • salads
  • used for it's oil (from the seeds actually)
  • pureed and used in drinks or milkshakes
  • as an antipasta (pieces are wrapped in prosciutto)

Growing up I always remember having the mixed fruit bowls of sliced fruit including watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and cantaloupe.  I find that it also tastes great on the rind with a little salt to bring out the sweetness.  What other uses for cantaloupe have you and your family used?

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