By the calendar, summer has been in full swing, but here in Nebraska we are just starting to have the weather that truly indicates that we are in the midst of summer — HOT TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY. And when the temperatures climb so does my craving for traditional summer fruits – MELONS. Melons make for a refreshing and lower calorie treat during the warmer months of the year. And is one of the most widely enjoyed fruits in people’s kitchens and was in my CSA bag for the week. Specifically – CANTALOUPE.
When you pick up your CSA bag everything is pre-packaged, but if you go to a farmers market or the supermarket you want to look for cantaloupe that is uniformly beige, not green, and should be nicely round. Choose a fruit that is heavy for its size, has a sweet, fruity fragrance, a thick, well raised netting and yields slightly to pressure at the blossom end. Look over the outside rind for any visual bruises, spots or punctures. Ripe cantaloupes should be stored in the refrigerator, unripe at room temperature. Before you cut into your cantaloupe be sure to wash the exterior with cool clean water and a scrub brush to get any exterior dirt off the rind. As cantaloupe can absorb other food odors, care must be taken when storing in the refrigerator. Cantaloupe is known for its pale orange flesh, and is extremely juicy and sweet. This fruit is an excellent source of folic acid, potassium, vitamin A & C and fiber, but low in calories with under 50 calories per one cup serving, when eaten fresh.
Because cantaloupe has a mild flavor, it complements the flavors of many other fruits, making it ideal for fruit salads, which is how it is most commonly eaten. In our home we typically slice it into wedges and eat it plain, but we have also blended it into smoothies and frozen into sorbets. For a nice change of pace and because I had all the extra ingredients on hand from the garden, I chose to make a cantaloupe cucumber salsa to go over some fish that we were having for supper. It was a nice topping for the grilled fish and would also work nicely for chicken. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Cantaloupe and Cucumber Salsa1 cup diced cantaloupe 1/2 cup diced cucumber 1/4 cup diced red onion 1 jalapeno, diced 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped 1 Tbsp lime juice 1 tsp vegetable oil 1/4 tsp salt Mix all ingredients together. Cover and chill. *Use a slotted spoon to serve over fish and chicken.