Cantaloupe cool

§ July 16th, 2012 § Filed under Uncategorized § Tagged , Comments Off on Cantaloupe cool

Any way you slice it, cantaloupe’s a luscious and cool choice for summer meals. (Kevin Clark/The Washington Post) Cooling fruit: That’s what we need in this onset of dog days. Cantaloupes fill the bill. They have just arrived in area farmers markets, so here’s what to look for (from our Market Watch archives), and some of the more interesting ways to use them.

Technically, the true cantaloupe is grown only in Europe; what we see here in the supermarkets, farmers markets and roadside stands this time of year could be any of several varieties of orange-fleshed muskmelon, or “netted” melon, so named for the pattern that decorates its rind. Though 90 percent water, the muskmelon, er, cantaloupe is a pleasant source of vitamins A and C.

The Mylan; see the recipe below. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)
HOW TO SELECT: Smell the stem end. The aroma of the melon is the best indication of ripeness, though the perfume will be muted if the melon is chilled.

Look closely; the net pattern should be raised slightly and the background should be a cream color.

Pick it up; the melon should seem heavy for its size. Press gently; there should be no soft spots although the melon should yield to slight pressure near the stem end.

Pass over those that are hard; cantaloupe does not ripen once picked. Don’t bother rapping the rind; honestly, would you know what to listen for?
Locally, the best melons are available during July and August. Store uncut melon at room temperature for two to three days. Slice only what is needed, cover the remainder tightly in plastic wrap (it readily absorbs other flavors) and refrigerate. If at all possible, remove from the refrigerator about 15 minutes prior to serving to allow the chill to depart and the flavor to bloom.

A bit of freshly squeezed lime juice over slices of cantaloupe or your favorite thin slices of cured ham go nicely, of course. But if you feel like broadening your cantaloupe scope, check out the recipes after the jump.

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