Cantaloupe (also cantaloup, muskmelon or rockmelon) refers to two varieties of (Cucumis melo), which is a species in the family Cucurbitaceae (a family which includes nearly all melons and squashes). Cantaloupes range in size from 0.5 kg to 5.0 kg. Originally cantaloupe referred only to the non-netted oranged fleshed melons of Europe, however in more recent usage it has come to mean any oranged fleshed melon.
Rockmelons By Regions
The European cantaloupe is Cucumis melo cantalupensis. It is lightly ribbed, with a gray-green skin that looks quite different from that of the North American cantaloupe.
The North American cantaloupe, common in the United States and in some parts of Canada, is Cucumis melo reticulatus (or sometimes C. melo var. cantalupensis), a different member of the same muskmelon species. It is named reticulatus due to its net-like (or reticulated) skin covering. In Australia and New Zealand, it is called rockmelon due to the rock-like appearance of the skin of the fruit. It is called a spanspek or sweet melon in South Africa, where it is harvested during the summer months October through February. It is a round melon with firm, orange, moderately-sweet flesh and a thin reticulated light-brown rind. Varieties with redder and yellower flesh exist but are not common in the U.S market.
The cantaloupe originated in India and Africa.
Cantaloupes were originally cultivated by the Egyptians and later the Greeks and Romans.
Cantaloupes were first introduced to North America by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1494. The W. Atlee Burpee Company developed and introduced the “Netted Gem” in 1881 from varieties then growing in North America.
Production And Use
Choosing a ripe melon depends on the preferences of the individual. For a heavy musk flavor and softer flesh look for an Eastern Shipper with a strong yellow color, no stem (peduncle) attached, and a strong musk odor. For a sweeter, crisper melon look for a Western shipper without stem (peduncle) and a mild musk odor. For a very sweet melon with little or no musk choose a fruit that has the stem still on the fruit and no aroma.
Cantaloupe is normally eaten as a fresh fruit, as a salad, or as a dessert with ice cream or custard. Melon pieces wrapped in prosciutto are a familiar modern antipasto. Sanjeev Kapoor describes the charentais variety: “the orange, sugary and fragrant flesh makes this fruit popular both as a dessert or main course. These have smooth gray-green rinds and very fragrant orange flesh. It keeps well when stored in a cool, dry place and ripens after several days in a warm room.
Because the surface of a cantaloupe can contain harmful bacteria—in particular, salmonella —it is always a good idea to wash a melon thoroughly before cutting and consumption. Optimum preparation procedures Only store the fruit after cutting for less than three days to prevent risk of Salmonella or other bacterial pathogens.
A moldy cantaloupe in a Peoria, Illinois market in 1941 was found to contain the best and highest quality penicillin after a worldwide search.
You can Find number of different recipes in Ayesha’s Kitchen: