Cantaloupes

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The Cantaloupe or sweet melon is a variety of muskmelon species. The fruit likely originated from South Asia or Africa before being brought to the states. It is said the Christopher Columbus introduced the Cantaloupe to the new world on his second voyage in 1494. Commercial farming and production of cantaloupes in the United States were started around 1890.

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Cucurbitales
  • Family: Cucurbitaceae
  • Genus: Cucumis
  • Species: C. Melo
  • Binomial name: C. melo var. cantalupo

Cantaloupe Trivia

  • The Cantaloupe derives its name from a town in Italy called Cantalupo
  • Cantaloupes are the most popular melons in the United States
  • In Australia, they call cantaloupes “rockmelons.”
  • In Japan, cantaloupes are considered a luxury and are often given as gifts

Cantaloupe Buying Guide

The best way to pick the right Cantaloupe is through its scent. A ripe cantaloupe should smell sweet and have a slight musky smell to it. They should also have a bit of heft to them and they should feel heavy for its size and not feel hollow. The rind should feel like raised netting and not smooth.

Avoid purchasing cantaloupes that have visible bruising, as that could mean that the flesh underneath is damaged as well.

Cantaloupe Production & Farming in Texas

Texas ranks 3rd in melon production in the United States with cantaloupes accounting for 75% of the total melon crop. Depending on market outlook, anywhere between 12,000 to 20,000 acres are allocated for melon farms every year. Cash value for melon farming in Texas is around $82 million annually, and economic impact reaches as high as $115 million per year.

Half of all the cantaloupe crop is grown in the Lower Valley. About a third are grown in the Trans-Pecos while the remainder comes from Winter Garden, the Blacklands, South Texas, the Edwards Plateau, and the Cross Timbers.

All of the Cantaloupe grown in Texas goes to the fresh markets.

Pesticides:

The Cantaloupe ranks number 13 on the Clean Fifteen list. Over 60% of the cantaloupes tested had no pesticide residue found. Those found with pesticide residue had more than one type of pesticide. The thick rind of the Cantaloupe protects the flesh from pesticide contamination.

It is worth noting that while the Cantaloupe is considered one of the cleaner fruits and vegetables when it comes to pesticide contamination, its netted exterior and low acid levels make it conducive for bacteria growth.

It is advisable to thoroughly wash and scrub cantaloupes before cutting into them. This applies to both commercially grown cantaloupes and organically grown cantaloupes.

Geography:

Cantaloupes are adaptable to a wide range of soils.  The Cantaloupe thrives in well-drained, medium-textured soil with pH levels between 6.0 – 8.0. The Cantaloupe has a moderate water demand requiring around 15-20 inches of water per planting season.

Packaging:

Cantaloupes require no special tools to harvest because they detach easily from the vine when perfectly ripe. They are then hand-sorted by size and weight before being labeled then packed into boxes based on the customer’s requirements. The boxed Cantaloupe are then cooled before being transported to their final destination.

Note: Most cantaloupe packers do not wash their cantaloupes before packing them. You must wash your cantaloupes thoroughly before slicing into them.

Eating Cantaloupes

Before cutting into your Cantaloupe, make sure to wash them under cool running water and scrubbing the surface with a medium bristle brush. This is to remove any bacteria from the surface of the melon. Cut off the stem end and scoop out the seeds from the middle like you would a pumpkin. Once the seeds have been removed, you can cut and portion your Cantaloupe to whatever size you require.

Storage:

Cantaloupes should be stored in the vegetable crisper section of the refrigerator to ensure the longest storage time. Perfectly ripe cantaloupes can be stored anywhere from five to fifteen days. Do not wash the cantaloupes before placing them inside the refrigerator.

For storing leftover Cantaloupe, remove the skin and place it in an air-tight container and store in the fridge for up to three days.

To freeze Cantaloupe, remove the skin and wrap in cling film or store in a freezer-safe container before freezing.

Due to its high water content, canning and drying Cantaloupe is not recommended.

Cooking:

Cantaloupes are often used fresh in food preparations. Cantaloupes can also be used in pastry applications as a garnish or as the main flavor component.

Nutrition:

  • Carbs
    • One cup of cantaloupes contains about 60 calories, and these are primarily from carbs and sugars
    • While it tastes super sweet, one cup of Cantaloupe has the same carbs and sugars as a serving of other fruits, like apples.
  • Fiber
    • Since cantaloupes are mostly water, the amount of fiber found per serving is less than 3% of the recommended daily intake
  • Vitamins and minerals:
    • Cantaloupes are a good source of Vitamin A, beta carotene and Vitamin C
      • The vitamin A found in Cantaloupes are good for promoting eye health
      • Beta carotene has been linked to a certain reduction of diseases like heart disease and cancer.
      • Vitamin C aids your immune system and is also a well known antioxidant.

When Are Cantaloupes in Season in Texas?

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  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • Oktober
  • November
  • December

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Buy Local Farmfresh Cantaloupes in Texas Directly from the Producer

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156 produce

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Adobe Farm

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Agricola Family Farm

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B & G’s Garden

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B5 Farms

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Baugh Family Farm

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Baugh Farms

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Bent Spoke Farms

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Black Land Farm Market

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Block 20 Produce

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Bouldin Food Forest

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Braune Farms Fresh Produce

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Chapin Farms

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Circle-N farms

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Cornerstone Creek Farm

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Corpus Christi Produce

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Cross Roads Ranch

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Crownover Farms

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D-Bar Farm & Nursery