Crazy For Cantaloupe
Any way you slice it, this refreshing summer fruit bursts with flavor and health benefits.
You know summer’s just around the
Bend when cantaloupe makes an appearance in the produce department. Cut one open and you’ll find a sweet, juicy treat packed with potassium, fiber and magnesium. Low in calories (just 60 per cup), cantaloupes make the perfect snack to tote during the lazy days of summer.
One cup of the luscious fruit provides more than 100 percent of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C and vitamin A. It also helps us achieve blemish-free skin and impeccable eyesight thanks to its high beta-carotene content. And its seeds are nutritious in their own right; they boast omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health. Added bonus: Because cantaloupes have a high water content (90 percent), the fruit will help you stay hydrated and keep you feeling full longer.
DID YOU KNOW?
The “cantaloupe” we all know here in the U.S. is actually a muskmelon. Gasp! To find the real deal, the ones without the extensive, mosaic-like netting and with heavier, deeply grooved ribs, you have to travel to the Mediterranean. Named after a town in southern Italy called Cantalupo, this refreshing fruit won fame when its seeds were imported from Armenia to grace the papal gardens in the 15th century.
The secret to choosing a ripe cantaloupe? A good sniff, shake and squeeze. If it doesn’t smell like sweet, fragrant flowers, leave it. If you shake it and the seeds are still intact, put it back. And if you press your thumb lightly on the bottom and it’s too hard or too soft, avoid it. If all else fails and you bring home an unripe cantaloupe, you can let it sit out at room temperature for a couple of days until it’s ready. To prepare cantaloupe, wash thoroughly, cut the fruit in half, scrape out the seeds with a metal spoon and then slice it into quarters, wedges or cubes. But make sure you’re ready to eat it before cutting—once it’s been sliced, cantaloupe should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Barbecue bound? Liven up a shrimp kabob with cantaloupe cubes. For a quick picnic prep, go sweet and salty with a cantaloupe and prosciutto pairing. Cantaloupes can be enjoyed in liquid form too: Blend into a smoothie for an energizing post-workout snack!