I went to Whole Foods yesterday because it was quick and convenient and I needed to buy some fresh fruit. While I think a lot of their produce is overpriced, I bought a bag of red grapes and a cantaloupe because they had nice big cantaloupes for $3.99 each which is not a great deal, but when you compare how much fruit you get for that price versus price per pound on much of their other fruit, it is a good deal. The only problem is that when I was selecting the melon, none of them seemed ripe or close to ripe for me.
So here I am today, wanting to have cantaloupe for breakfast, but I’m not going to cut into it because I know it’s not ripe. How do I know it’s not ripe? I just did a bunch of research online and found out that there are 3 easy steps to tell if a cantaloupe is ripe.
How To Tell If A Cantaloupe Is Ripe In 3 Easy Steps:
1. Color needs to be your first identifier. It should be a golden tan color versus a green tan color. (mine is a green tan color)
2. Look at the ends of the fruit – the blossom end and the stem end. Check those for firmness. Grab the melon in your two hands and press in at the ends with your thumbs. If you feel a gentle yield then it tells you that it’s ready to use. (mine has no gentle yield)
3. Final test is to smell the melon. When a melon has a melon smell to it, you know that it’s ready. However, please note that when it’s refrigerated you can’t really smell the melon smell. It needs to be at room temperature. (mine has no melon smell at room temperature).
So based on those three steps above, the melon that I bought is far from ripe.
The next question is: How Can You Ripen A Cantaloupe?
Unfortunately, you can’t. You can make it softer so it’s more edible, but you can never make it sweeter. Cantaloupes are sweetest when they are fully ripe. This explains the fact that when I buy locally grown melons at the farm stand in the summer when they are actually ripe, they are ridiculously amazing and why when you buy a typical supermarket melon they are just meh…
The consensus on making a cantaloupe melon softer is to put it in a paper bag with an apple or banana and close the paper bag to trap the ethylene gas that is emitted by the fruit and which should hasten the softening process.
Note to self: In the future, don’t buy unripe cantaloupes.
1. Check the color
When choosing cantaloupe you first want to pick it up and look at the color. The lighter the color the better — a niece beige color is good. You want to avoid ones that look too green. This pup was perfect.
3. Smell it!
Ripe cantaloupes should smell sweet but if it is too smelly, it could be overripe. Check for a fragrant melon but it shouldn’t be overwhelming.
But then comes the moment of truth. Did I get it right? Will my kids be happy or sad? Open it up and you’ll know instantly.
This one is a keeper!
Does your family eat cantaloupe? What other melons do you enjoy?
Need help planning family meals? Get step-by-step advice in my book The Family Dinner Solution: How to Create a Rotation of Dinners Meals Your Family Will Love