Slices of cantaloupe melon are one of the most refreshing non-alcoholic summer treats available, and they are always welcome on a hot day. A cantaloupe, sometimes known as muskmelons or Persian melons, is any melon with orange flesh and a netted skin.
However, for some, this delicious summer treat may end in a trip to the ER, since cantaloupe melons are the third most prevalent cause of produce-related foodborne disease in the United States.
In this article, I describe how to properly handle cantaloupe melons to limit the risk of foodborne disease, as well as what to look for when choosing a melon and why cantaloupe is a healthy and enjoyable snack.
I also provide a step-by-step tutorial on how to slice a cantaloupe melon ready for a fruit platter later in the post, and although there are many different ways to prepare a cantaloupe melon with or without its rind, slicing for a platter is probably one of the most common and easiest ways to prepare it. Throughout the instruction, I also show how to cut it into wedges and slices.
- Cantaloupe Melons and Food Safety
- Cantaloupe Melon Nutrition
- Selecting A Cantaloupe Melon
- What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial
- Step by Step Instructions
Cantaloupe Melons and Food Safety
Cantaloupe melons are members of the Cucurbitaceae plant family and feature shallow ribs and a webbed surface made up of semi-porous and fibrous tissue. Cantaloupes are farmed in Arizona, California, and Texas, and between 2000 and 2009, they were the third most prevalent produce item to cause foodborne disease in the United States (after greens and tomatoes).
Salmonella is the most prevalent kind of foodborne disease caused by cantaloupes, however instances of E. coli 0157, Campylobacter, and listeria have also been reported. The most notable listeria epidemic in the United States from cantaloupes occurred in 2011, infecting 147 individuals and killing over 30.
While imported cantaloupes are often the source of foodborne disease, there have been outbreaks related to American farms as well, notably the 2011 listeria epidemic traced back to a Colorado farm.
Cantaloupes are more sensitive to harboring bacteria and other infections on the rind due to how they grow, harvesting, and packing, as well as the rind webbing. Several of these diseases are naturally present in the soil and water where the melons are grown.
Some companies disinfect cantaloupes during processing, whereas others do not disinfect and instead utilize a washing phase. This is why it is critical to properly wash cantaloupes (and any other variety of melon) before cutting.
It is advised that we utilize cantaloupes shortly after purchase, in addition to properly cleaning the rind under running water with a clean vegetable brush (or equivalent).
We should also clean our knives after each cut, and once prepared, melon should be kept in the refrigerator and eaten within two or three days.
Cantaloupe Melon Nutrition
Cantaloupe’s high water and electrolyte (potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium) content makes it a pleasant snack in the summer or after exercise.
A cup of cantaloupe melon includes around 10% of our daily potassium consumption, which people should drink approximately 4,700 milligrams (mg) of each day to help maintain blood pressure levels low and our hearts healthy.
Cantaloupe melons are naturally low in calories and contain fiber in the amount of 1.6 grams per cup, which is necessary for digestive health.
Cantaloupe melon, like other fruits, contains antioxidants such as beta carotene, vitamin C, and tocopherol. These antioxidants may aid in the prevention of some of the cellular damage that contributes to cancer, heart disease, and other diseases.
In the body, beta carotene turns to vitamin A, which is found in orange and yellow foods. A cup of cantaloupe contains between a fifth and a quarter of our daily beta carotene requirements (depending on whether you are male or female). Asthma prevention is connected to beta carotene, and vitamin A is required for tissue development and repair throughout the body.
Vitamin C is required for wound healing, protein metabolism, and the creation of collagen, which is essential for the health of skin, bone, tendons, cartilage, blood vessels, and other tissues. Mature men should eat 75 to 90 mg of vitamin C per day, while females should consume 65 to 75 mg. One cup of cantaloupe has 65 milligrams of vitamin C, which is the recommended daily dose for women.
Two additional antioxidants contained in cantaloupe, lutein and zeaxanthin, have been linked to having protective advantages for eye health and may help to lessen the chance of AMD forming as we age.
While cantaloupe contains folate, which is essential for pregnant women, the danger of contracting listeria from eating it means that some people may choose to avoid it. If you wish to continue eating cantaloupe during pregnancy, the advise offered in Australia after a recent 2018 listeria epidemic (caused by cantaloupes) is that pregnant women should avoid eating any pre-cut melon, and instead make a melon snack at home from a fresh whole melon.
Selecting A Cantaloupe Melon
While this essay focuses on cantaloupe melons, the same concepts apply to any kind of melon. Always attempt to purchase locally while it is in season. Depending on where you reside, this will normally be from the summer through the middle of the fall.
First and foremost, examine the melon’s skin. Avoid purchasing a melon with bruising, cracks, soft patches, or other external damage, since this might increase the danger of infections within the melon.
Look at the hue of it. Most North American cantaloupes (Cucumis melo reticulatus) are gold or orangey behind the white netting, depending on the variety. True cantaloupes (Cucumis melo cantalupensis) are green and may be partially netted with noticeable ribs. Cantaloupes from Asia or Persia are more rectangular in form, with yellow or green rinds and less prominent netting.
Always choose a melon that feels hefty for its size and has a fragrant cantaloupe aroma when you bring the stem end up to your nose.
Melons are frequently under-ripe when purchased at the grocery store, so you may need to keep it at room temperature for a day or two to enable it to mature. If you gently shake the cantaloupe and its seeds rattle a bit, it is ripe and ready to eat. If you are not quite ready to chop it up, put it in the refrigerator to not only avoid additional ripening but also to keep it cool until you are ready to eat it.
What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial
- Melon cantaloupe
- To wipe the melon’s outer skin, use a vegetable brush or something similar.
- This will need a big chefs knife that is large enough to cut the cantaloupe. It should be crisp as well.
- To remove the interior seeds, use an ice cream scoop. You may also use a big spoon.
- To chop the melon, set it on a cutting board.
- Paper towels are used to dry off and cover the cutting board.
- Cleaning the chopping board with a countertop cleaner or sanitizing spray
A dab of antibacterial soap or a food-safe liquid to rinse the outside with is optional.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: Clean the cantaloupe
Scrub the cantaloupe well with a vegetable brush while it is still somewhat warm. I also use antimicrobial soap on occasion. Others may want to rinse the rind with a very weak white vinegar and water solution to eliminate germs from the rind, and because the peel is being sliced away, using a light food-safe disinfectant is not a concern at this stage.
After washing, pat the melon rind dry using paper towels to remove excess water.
Step 2: Prepare the cutting board
Put a paper towel on your cutting board to mop up any extra juice before placing your newly cleaned and dried cantaloupe on it. If you want to keep extra juice from flowing everywhere, put your chopping board inside a big rimmed baking pan.
Step 3: Prepare melon for slicing
Put the melon on a chopping board and cut a slice from the top and bottom of the cantaloupe using a knife. This not only removes the stem, but it also keeps the melon from moving about when you slice into it. Clean your knife.
To lessen the risk of foodborne disease, it is suggested that you clean your knife after each cut.
Step 4a: Remove rind (optional)
If you wish to serve your melon without the skin, place the cantaloupe on its top or bottom on a cutting board and slice the rind away from top to bottom with a knife.
Maintain your knife parallel to the melon’s curvature. Depending on the form of the melon, you may need to flip it upside down and slice from the other end again. When you’ve removed the most of the main rind, go back and slice off any little portions that remain on the melon. It may seem strange at this stage, but it will look good once split up.
To lessen the risk of foodborne disease, it is suggested that you clean your knife after each cut.
Some people like to peel the rind from the pieces after they have been cut, but I believe that this increases the danger of infection and takes longer to prepare.
After removing the rind, discard it along with the kitchen paper from the cutting board and wash it off with a sanitizer or countertop cleaner before replacing the cutting board with new kitchen paper.
Clean the rindless melon and blot dry with a clean paper towel before replacing it on the cutting board.
Step 5: Halve the melon
Slice the melon in half with a clean knife while it is still resting on its top or bottom (with or without its rind). Clean your knife.
Step 6: Remove seeds
Scoop off all of the seeds from the inner layer using an ice cream scoop or a big spoon and discard. Check that the scoop or spoon takes everything from the inside and leaves it smooth.
Step 7: Slice melon
Place half of the melon cavity side down on the cutting board and use your knife to equally slice crosswise from the top edge down the bottom edge for a fruit plate.
Slices of about a quarter-inch thickness are normally sufficient for a fruit plate, but if the cantaloupe is really ripe, you may need slightly thicker slices to allow people to pick it up.
Place the melon half cavity on the cutting board and cut it in half again from top to bottom if you wish to cut it into wedges instead. Flip the slice over and cut it again from top to bottom (this will give you four top to bottom slices or crescents per half of melon).
The crescent slices may then be sliced crosswise to produce wedges. If the wedges are too large, just cut the wedge again.
Pro Tip: All melons may be sliced using this step-by-step guide, with the exception of step 6 to remove the seeds.
Step 8: Arrange the cantaloupe
After you’ve arranged your slices or wedges on your dish, cover and keep in the refrigerator until required. You should avoid eating all of the cantaloupe at once since melon that has been kept at room temperature for two hours should be discarded to limit the risk of foodborne disease.
I hope you found this instruction on how to cut a cantaloupe melon for a fruit platter helpful, and that you now not only know how to simply prepare a cantaloupe, but also how to cut it properly to limit the danger of foodborne disease.
Please feel free to share this article with your family and friends, and please make any comments about cantaloupes in the space below.
How do you safely cut a cantaloupe?
Then, flip the hollow side of the cantaloupe down (where the seeds were). The flat stem ends should be aligned from left to right, as seen in the photographs above. Cut thin slices in the same way as you chopped off the stem ends. Transfer the fruit to a serving dish or tray using your knife as a scoop.
Can you cut cantaloupe the night before?
Cover the surfaces of cut cantaloupe wedges and refrigerate for up to three days. (If at all feasible, leave the seeds whole. They keep the meat from drying out.) Cubes without seeds can keep in the refrigerator for one to two days in a resealable container.
How do you cut melon for charcuterie board?
Remove the two ends of the melon and place it on one end. Cut away the peel with a chef’s knife, bending your cuts between the rind and meat following the rounded curve of the melon. Cut the melon lengthwise through the middle. Using a spoon, gently scoop out the seeds and inner membranes and discard.
Will cantaloupe soften after cut?
No. After cutting a cantaloupe, even if it is not as ripe as you would want, place the sliced cantaloupe in the refrigerator. Cantaloupe that has been sliced into should never be left on the counter to ripen further.
Why is it important to wash cantaloupe before slicing?
Preventing foodborne disease
Wash your cantaloupe: Remove hazardous germs from the rind of the fruit by cleaning it with antibacterial soap before cutting it. Cleaning the rind is a simple step that may make or break the dish.
How long is cantaloupe good for after cutting?
Cantaloupe slices can keep in the refrigerator for up to three days. 3. Storage cubed cantaloupe: Diced cantaloupe can keep in an airtight container in the fridge for one to two days. To cube the fruit, use a sharp knife to peel the skin off the cantaloupe, then cut the orange flesh into uniformly sized pieces.