Cantaloupes, or more popularly muskmelons, are one of the most popular varieties of melons in the United States. For people who are conscious of extra calories but have an affinity towards tasty stuff, cantaloupes form the perfect choice for their palette. The refreshingly rich flavor and aroma of cantaloupes can hardly fail to tickle the taste buds of a food lover.
The cantaloupe has its origin in the Italian papal village of Cantaloupe, where it was first cultivated around 1700 A.D. Hailing from the same family of Cucurbitaceae, cantaloupes grow on the ground with the support of a trailing vine. Cantaloupes have a ribless rind with a distinctive netted skin and hence it’s also called ‘netted melon’. Inside the melon, there is a hollow cavity containing seeds encased in a web of netting. Rockmelon is also another popular name of cantaloupes.
The health benefits of cantaloupes are innumerable. An excellent source of vitamin A on account of its concentrated beta-carotene content, cantaloupes are responsible for reducing the risk of developing cataracts to around 39%. Reports suggest that cantaloupes are more beneficial than carrots for our eyes. Beta-carotene has also been the subject of extensive research in relationship to cancer prevention and prevention of oxygen-based damage to cells. The benefits of cantaloupes are not confined within this. Being a good source of Vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, folate, and niacin (vitamin B3), along with its fiber, cantaloupes lend an efficient support to the body by allowing good carbohydrate metabolism and blood sugar stability. Besides, recent researches held at various renowned universities as the Kansas University has suggested that consumption of cantaloupes may reduce the risk of lung cancer in passive smokers.
Without doubt, cantaloupes are one of the healthiest of all foods. So including them in our daily diet would be one of the healthiest choices to make. But this does not mean that our diet would monotonous. There are a wide variety of cantaloupe recipes that can really tickle our taste buds. 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. A world-renowned chef 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.” It’s essential to choose the right cantaloupe while shopping. Choose a melon that is heavy for its size with a sweet but not over-powering smell and no soft spots. If it is ripe, store it in the refrigerator – just be sure to seal it tightly since cantaloupes can take on the odors of nearby foods. If it is a bit hard or green, store it at room temperature until it is ripe. These little tips are helpful to let you enjoy the natural taste of cantaloupes and its wide array of recipes.
Cantaloupes thus combine within themselves the key to health and taste. Low in fats and rich in essential vitamins and minerals, they are just the ideal food for all fitness freaks. So, just reach out and make cantaloupes an essential part of your daily diet.