How to buy a ripe cantaloupe

How to choose a ripe cantaloupe

Nothing says summer like a big hunk of juicy, cool cantaloupe, but do you ever stand staring at that huge pile of melons in the center isle of the store and feel overwhelmed? No one wants to eat or serve an under-ripe, dry, hard cantaloupe.

Which one is ripe?

Here in this How-To-Guide is a quick and easy list of things to look for when buying or picking a cantaloupe.


Step 1

The #1 indicator

Pick up the melon and sniff it.

Cantaloupe should have a strong, sweet smell — it should smell like cantaloupe.

Sniffing out the most fragrant one is the fastest way to pick a cantaloupe.

If it has no scent its still green.

If it smells the least bit sour, put it back into the pile and keep searching, and sniffing.

Step 2


Look for a a cantaloupe that is a pale yellow color with bright, lemon-colored areas, this is probably a good one — beige colored skin with distinct green veins equals a still green, picked too early melon. Cantaloupes are under-ripe when the skin is green.

A cantaloupe is ripe when the skin is a rich, gold color.

Step 3

Signs of vine ripened cantaloupes

Vine ripened melons are the ones that will bring you the most flavor, juice and that wonderful taste of summer.

Look for cantaloupes that have a patch that is slightly flat and lighter in color. Melons that develop on the vine flatten slightly from their own weight, and lose color on the spot where they sit on hot soil.

A good melon is firm, not rock hard and yields very slightly to pressure.

A ripe, juicy cantaloupe will have no soft spots.

Step 4

The stem end

Make sure that the melon is picked instead of being cut from the vine. Some farmers do cut the melon off the vine too early in the season to ship them, and then the melons ripen as they go.

When pressed on slightly the stem end of the cantaloupe will give a little, if the melon is ripe.

Tips from the Team — How to Select a Cantaloupe

David talks about how to pick out a cantaloupe

Things Needed
• A good farmers market that sells fresh, just picked produce.
• Your sense of sight and smell.
• Shopping bags (at the farmers market)
• Toothpicks for stabbing samples offered by the vendors — Farmers love to give samples.

Tips & Warnings
• Look for a cantaloupe that has been ripened on the vine and has «slipped» off of the vine.(fallen off when touched or picked, as opposed to being cut off the vine.)
• A cantaloupe is not ripe if the skin under the textured «webbing» is green.
• Any cracks, wounds, or bruising are places where bacteria and germs can enter — Do not buy any damaged fruit.
• Wash the melon before cutting into the skin — dirt, germs and bacteria may enter the edible parts when cutting a dirty melon.
• Wash a cantaloupe just like you would your skin with warm water, mild soap, rinse well, and dry with a soft towel.


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