I’m specifically talking muskmelon here — though other types qualify. Or ‘cantaloupe.’ What — didn’t the watermelon or honeydew want to run away with you? (Just some melon humor there.)
Push lightly on where the stem originally joined, and you should smell a sweet, almost musky odor. Look for light-colored webbing, and a dull sound when you thump it. That means it’s ripe.
Melon is best sliced and guzzled right out of the rind, or chunked into your favorite fruit salad. You can even use it as a container for the salad, like the photo below. Wrap up in plastic wrap or foil when you’re done, and it’s the perfect holder for a picnic — throw away when done.
We’re lucky out here in Colorado — our Rocky Ford melons are famous for their juiciness and deep flavor. If you have a chance to get a Rocky Ford cantaloupe, don’t hesitate — they’re worth it.
One favorite way to enjoy melon was inspired by an Italian ice I tried once in Austria, while a college student. I’ve been looking for this kind of ice/sherbet ever since, but the flavor is never quite as intense as what I remembered. So I make it myself, instead. Freeze some extra for a wintertime pick-me-up.
- 1 fresh muskmelon
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Seed, slice and cube the melon — freeze, either on a cookie sheet or in plastic pint bags. (One bag makes enough for 2-3 people, 4 people as a between-courses palate refresher.) One melon generally equals two pint bags, or a quart.
Shortly before you’re ready, dump the frozen melon into a blender, along with the sugar and lemon juice. Buzz until still slightly chunky; adjust sugar to taste, and serve in long-stemmed glasses.
Cool, refreshing and easy. Ahhhhh….