Also known as
Cantaloupe, Rock Melon
Muskmelon is a round melon with firm, orange, moderately-sweet flesh and a thin reticulated light-brown rind. The term ‘reticulatus’ in the biological name of the fruit, Cucumis melo reticulates, refers to its net-like (reticulated) skin covering. It belongs to the same family as the cucumber, squash, pumpkin and gourd, and like many of its relatives, grows on the ground on a trailing vine.
Cantaloupe, as the muskmelon is often known, is believed to have originated in India and Africa. It is also common in the United States and in some parts of Canada. In Australia and New Zealand, it is called rock melon due to the rock-like appearance of the skin.
Cantaloupe is normally eaten as a fresh fruit, as a salad, or as a dessert with ice cream or custard.
This refers to finely-chopped or roughly-chopped muskmelon. The rind or skin is usually removed before chopping the fruit into sizes. For some recipes, the muskmelon may also be chopped into big chunks or quarters.
Making a perfect melon ball is quite easy. First, cut the melon in half. Remove any seeds or fibrous portions in the centre. Now, press your melon baller firmly into the meat of the melon. Then lift the baller so that it stands straight inside the melon (as if you were opening a beer bottle with an opener). Then turn the baller clockwise using your wrist and pull out to get a perfect muskmelon ball. These dainty looking pieces of fruit are usually served with cocktails or in salads.
Remove the outer rind and take out the fleshy interiors. Deseed the melon and place the melon on the chopping board. Cut the muskmelon into small cubes with a sharp chopping knife and relish it as fresh fruit or as a dessert.
Place the muskmelon on a chopping board and cut it into half. Peel the muskmelon and chop into desired pieces. Combine 1 cup chopped muskmelon along with 1/4 cup water in a mixer and blend till smooth. Your muskmelon puree is ready. Use as required.
How to select
• If you tap the melon with the palm of your hand and hear a hollow sound, the melon has passed the first test.
• Choose a melon that seems heavy for its size and one that does not have bruises or overly-soft spots.
• The rind should have turned to yellow or cream colour from the green shades that the unripe fruit has.
• You should be able to smell the fruit's sweetness subtly if it is ripe. However, be careful since a strong odour might indicate an overripe or fermented fruit.
• The orange, sugary and fragrant flesh makes this fruit popular both as a snack and as a dessert.
• While you can enjoy it plain, you may also top the melon slices with yogurt and chopped mint.
• Enjoy the cubes in a fruit salad, with fresh cream or as a topping on ice-cream.
How to store
• It keeps well when stored in a cool, dry place and ripens after several days in a warm room.
• Be sure to refrigerate the muskmelon immediately after cutting.
• A great flavour and aroma coming with minimal calories makes the muskmelon one of the most popular varieties of melons.
• Muskmelons are a source of polyphenol antioxidants.
• It is an excellent source of vitamin A, and is also a very good source of potassium and a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 and folate.
• Muskmelons are also an excellent source of vitamin C. They stimulate the white blood cells of the body and kill disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
• They are low in calories and cholesterol, and can be relished by weight-watchers and those with heart problems or cholesterol issues.
• The adenosine in muskmelon has blood-thinning properties, which automatically reduces the risk of heart ailments.