Cantaloupe is a low-calorie, nutrient-rich fruit. It is rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin C. It is also rich in potassium, folic acid, and moderately rich in micronutrients (zinc, copper, iron). It is naturally low in calories (29 calories per 1/2 cup serving), sodium, and fat.
Planting and Harvesting Cantaloupe
Cantaloupes are planted in Central Texas starting in March to April (when the soil temperature is 75-89oF and can be harvested from June to November. There needs to be at least 110-140 frost-free days for cantaloupes to fully mature. Therefore, it would be best to plant well in advance (4-5 months) of the first frost to have production in the early fall. Cantaloupe plants are good producers and are easy to grow in a well-drained home garden.
|Plant Cantaloupe||Harvest Cantaloupe|
|March to April||June to November|
Cantaloupes should be stored in the refrigerator immediately after harvest. Before storing in the refrigerator, any dirt adhering to the outside should be washed off thoroughly. Additionally, as a food safety precaution another thorough washing before cutting the fruit is necessary.
Choosing and Freezing Cantaloupes
Cantaloupes should be selected as fully ripe fruit. This is accomplished by selecting fruit by its indication of full maturity, which are: 1) stem seperation from the fruit; 2)thick, coarse and corky netting or veining which stands out on the surface; and 3) yellowish-buff, yellowish-gray, or pale yellow skin color between the netting. A ripe cantaloupe will also have a pleasant cantaloupe odor when the stem scar is held under the nose. The stem scar will also yield slightly to light pressure.
Avoid cantaloupes that appear to be overripe. The indicators of overripeness are: a pronounced yellow rind color, softening over the entire rind, and soft, watery and insipid flesh.
After choosing cantaloupes that are fully ripe, they can be easily frozen for later consumption. Cantaloupe pieces need to be syrup packed but do not need to be treated to prevent discoloration. The procedures to freeze cantaloupe are outlined below.
- Cut into slices, cubes, or balls.
- Use a syrup solution of 2 cups of sugar to 4 cups of water (50% sugar solution).
Note: This solution can be lowered to 25% sugar (1 cup sugar to 4 cups of water) depending upon how sweet the cantaloupe tastes and your preferences.
Enjoy the following recipe using your fresh cantaloupe from your garden.
Mixed Fruit Freeze
( Serves 8 )
- 2 lbs. cantaloupe, peeled and cubed (about 5 cups)
- 1 cup seedless red grapes
- 1 banana, cut into chunks
- 1 peach, peeled, cut into chunks
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 cup lowfat (2%) milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- Place all ingredients except apple juice into a large mixing bowl. Using a potato masher, mash all fruit and liquid into a well-blended, pureed mixture.
- Cover mixture with foil. Place in freezer 30-40 minutes, until firm.
- Remove fruit freeze from freezer. Run warm water around bowl to loosen frozen mixture. Remove fruit freeze from bowl. Cut into 2-inch chunks. Place the fruit chunks in a mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup apple juice. Use an electric mixer and beat mixture until very creamy, about 3 minutes. Repeat with other half of fruit chunks and remaining apple juice.
Nutritional Analysis (per serving): Calories:136; Protein:1.9 gm; Carbohydrates:32.9 gm; Total Fat:0.826 gm; Cholesterol:1.14 gm; Dietary Fiber:1.54 gm; Vitamin A:382 RE; Vitamin C:54 mg; Calcium:36 mg; Potassium:512 mg; Sodium:19.6 mg;
Diabetic Exchanges: 2 1/3 Fruit
The information given herein is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service is implied.
Educational programs of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin.
Publication Revised January 2009