I am a cantaloupe lover through and through!
For me, nothing beats taking that first juicy, sweet bite of ripe cantaloupe. I love to cut it into bite-sized pieces. At times, I also add it to different smoothies and cocktails. With that said, I do believe that cutting this delightful fruit up can pose a challenge to someone who doesn’t know how to go about it the right way.
So, read on to find out how to cut a cantaloupe without creating a mess!
How to Cut a Cantaloupe
In spite of the thick rind and the overwhelming number of seeds, it’s actually pretty easy to cut a cantaloupe. You can cut it into wedges or small pieces. For both the methods, here’s what you’ll need:
Things You Will Need
Let’s see how you can cut cantaloupe into wedges:
- The first step is to wash the whole cantaloupe under running water. Make sure to gently scrub the rind of the fruit with a natural bristle brush to wash away any dirt and bacteria.
- Put the cantaloupe on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut it in half. It’s not important to cut the rind before cutting the cantaloupe in half as even though the rind itself is inedible, it presents you with a mess-free way of enjoying hand-held cantaloupe wedges, which you can devour right off the rind!
- Once the melon is cut in half, place the two sides, with their open faces upward, on the cutting board. Use a tablespoon to gently scoop out the seeds from the middle of both halves. Make sure to take out as little fruit flesh as possible with the seeds as this is where it’s the most sugary and juicy.
- Now that you have taken out the seeds, turn the halves upside down on your cutting board flesh side down and further cut them into halves so that you have four cantaloupe quarters. Furthermore, cut the 4 large wedges lengthwise into smaller slices. To serve a large family, you can choose to divide the wedges even further for thin cantaloupe slices.
- That’s it! You can now enjoy the cantaloupe wedges as is; just make sure not to eat the greenish flesh that is close to the rind.
Pro Tip: You can either throw the cantaloupe seeds into your compost bin or clean them to use in a roasted seeds recipe – a delightfully crunchy snack!
Helpful Cooking Tips:
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Let’s see how you can cut cantaloupe into slices:
- Wash the cantaloupe as detailed above.
- Place the washed fruit on a cutting board and take a knife to slice off about ½ inch from the top and bottom. This will give you a flat surface and make it easier to peel cantaloupe.
- Rest the cantaloupe on its flat surface and take a knife to cut the rind off from top to bottom.
- Cut the peeled cantaloupe in half and use a spoon to remove the seeds.
- Turn over the seedless cantaloupe halves and use a knife to slice each half into 1-inch strips.
- Cut the cantaloupe strips widthwise into small chunks or cubes.
That’s it! You can eat the cantaloupe cubes with a fork or throw them in your salads and smoothies.
Do You Wash Cantaloupe Before Cutting?
I know it might seem silly to wash cantaloupe before cutting it as you don’t eat the rind anyway. However, it’s important to wash this sweet melon prior to chopping and devouring it.
Well, think of the knife that you use to cut the cantaloupe; if you don’t wash the rind of the outer surface, the knife will carry the bacteria and dirt on it into the flesh of the fruit. So, even though you don’t eat the rind, washing it will prevent the bacteria from latching on to the flesh, which you do eat!
So, make sure to rinse the whole cantaloupe under running water. Also, use a natural bristle brush to gently scrub the netted-skin or rind of the cantaloupe and pat the fruit dry before you slice it open.
How to Tell If a Cantaloupe Is Ready to Eat
Here are some solid tips to help you figure out if a cantaloupe is ready and ripe enough to eat:
- Choose a cantaloupe that has no black or browning spots. Look for ones that have smooth and round ends, which indicate that the stems were detached evenly.
- Make sure to feel the cantaloupe; ensure that the fruit has a webbed or netted surface. Also, to check its ripeness, gently press down on the skin, it should be firm yet not extremely hard to the touch and there should be no soft patches. Additionally, a ripe cantaloupe is generally heavier than it appears to be.
- Next, gently knock or tap the cantaloupe to see if it produces a deep sound, which is a positive sign of ripeness as opposed to a hollow sound.
- Lastly, you need to smell the cantaloupe. Whiff the bottom of the cantaloupe, often called the blossom end. It should have a fragrant, floral smell. However, if it’s an overwhelmingly strong smell, it’s an indication that the cantaloupe is overripe and has begun to ferment – fermentation leads to the cantaloupe flesh becoming unpleasantly mushy, which is not something that you want to eat!
How Long Does Cut Cantaloupe Last?
At room temperature, cut up cantaloupe can last for only up to 2 hours. So, make sure to either refrigerate or freeze the cut pieces to make them last longer. If the cantaloupe has been sitting on your countertop for more than two hours, make sure to discard it.
If kept in the fridge, cut up pieces of cantaloupe can easily last up to 3 to 5 days, provided you store them properly. If kept in the freezer, cut up cantaloupe will retain its taste and quality for around 10 months to a year, provided you store it properly.
So, how can you tell if a cantaloupe or cut up slices or pieces of cantaloupe have gone bad? The best way is to sniff and look at the cut-up pieces; make sure to discard them if they have an off-putting smell or have mold growth.
How to Store Cut Cantaloupe
The proper way to store cut up pieces or slices of cantaloupe is to either refrigerate or freeze them. If you want to store cantaloupe slices or wedges in the fridge, make sure to cover them with a plastic wrap and refrigerate them for up to 3 days. For cut up pieces of cantaloupe, make sure to store them in an air-tight container or heavy-duty freezer bags and keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Pro tip: If you want the cantaloupe wedges to retain moisture, try to keep the seeds intact.
If you want to keep cantaloupe pieces for long-term storage, freeze them. Store the pieces in airtight plastic containers or freezer bags. Make sure to label the bag or container with the date when you freeze it so that you can either use the cantaloupe pieces within 10 to 12 months or discard them if it’s past that time. You can use frozen cantaloupe slices or pieces in different smoothies and cocktails.
How to pick a cantaloupe
When picking a cantaloupe you want to focus on the color of the cantaloupe, the feel of it, and the smell of it.
- The cantaloupe should be primarily golden. You don’t want it to have too much green. A bit of green peeking through is fine but avoid too much green. Also, you don’t want to see large brown spots.
- The cantaloupe should feel firm with a small amount of giving. It shouldn’t be hard and it shouldn’t be squishy. It should feel heavy for its size.
- Smell the cantaloupe at the stem. It should smell fresh and slightly sweet. If it smells sour pick a different cantaloupe.
How to tell when a cantaloupe is ripe
The best way to tell when a cantaloupe is ripe is to inspect it and smell it. Smell the cantaloupe at the stem. If it smells sweet it is likely ripe. If it smells sour or there is no smell at all it isn’t ripe. Also, feel the cantaloupe to make sure that it isn’t rock hard. If it is hard it isn’t quite ripe yet. It should have a small amount of giving to it.
The Bottom Line
I hope you enjoyed this guide on how to cut a cantaloupe. Make sure to try out the two ways I have mentioned and do follow the tips detailed above to always pick the ripest and juiciest cantaloupe. Moreover, to enjoy the deliciousness of this sweet and refreshing fruit, do store it in the fridge or freezer if you don’t plan on devouring it all at once.