Melon season starts around May and lasts through September. Watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew are quintessential summer fruits that are staples in many households during summer.
Kids love the oh-so-good sweetness; adults love the freshness and health benefits. Melons are rich in vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system. Cantaloupes, especially, are a good source of the vitamin. A little less than a half cup of this warm-weather favorite provides up to two-thirds of the current recommended amount of daily vitamin C.
Some melons are also an excellent source of vitamin A, which helps night vision, and potassium, which can help keep blood pressure in a healthy range. They are also low in calories and sodium, and are saturated fat- and cholesterol-free.
Of course, to truly enjoy melons, you want to select the ripest you can find. Here are some signs to look for:
- Ripe cantaloupes have a dull yellow background with raised netting. These melons should be fragrant, and the blossom end (which is opposite of the end with the small dent) should yield a bit when pressed.
- Honeydew melons turn from green to a creamy white to yellow as they ripen. Avoid buying green ones, but a creamy white one will ripen on a countertop in a few days.
- Ripe watermelons should be yellow (not white) at their pale side—that’s where they rested while growing—and heavy for their size. Buying a halved watermelon? Look for one that is firm, brightly colored and free of white streaks. Also, watermelons don’t ripen after picking, but they continue to develop nutrients.
You can keep melons at room temperature for up to a week or until they’re fully ripe. Then refrigerate cut melon in a tightly covered container and eat within three to five days.
Turn melon that’s getting soft into a fruit smoothie. Simply add juice, ice cubes and fruit to a blender, and you have a delicious morning treat.
You can also puree the leftover fruit, freeze in ice trays, and then use as flavored cubes in lemonade.
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