Cantaloupe
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Scientific Classification

Kingdom:
Plantae
Division:
Flowering plant
Class:
Dicotyledon
Order:
Cucurbitales
Family:
Cucurbitaceae
Genus:
Cucumis
Species:
Melon
Subspecies:
Cantaloupe
Binomial name
Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis
Naudin

About
Cantaloupe (also cantaloup, muskmelon or rockmelon) refers to two varieties of Cucumis melo [1], which is a species in the family Cucurbitaceae, which includes nearly all melons and squashes. Cantaloupes range in size from 0.5 kg to 5.0 kg. Originally cantaloupe referred only to the non-netted orange-fleshed melons of Europe; however, in more recent usage it has come to mean any orange-fleshed melon (C. melo).

The North American cantaloupe, common in the United States and in some parts of Canada, is Cucumis melo reticulatus (or sometimes C. melo var. cantalupensis), a different member of the same muskmelon species. It is named reticulatus because of its net-like (or reticulated) skin covering. It is a round melon with firm, orange, moderately sweet flesh and a thin reticulated light-brown rind. Varieties with redder and yellower flesh exist but are not common in the U.S market.
The cantaloupe originated in India and Africa.[2] Cantaloupes were originally cultivated by the Egyptians and later the Greeks and Romans.[3] Cantaloupes were first introduced to North America by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1494. The W. Atlee Burpee Company developed and introduced the “Netted Gem” in 1881 from varieties then growing in North America.
Uses
Because they are descended from tropical plants, and tend to require warm temperatures throughout a relatively long growing period, cantaloupes grown in temperate climates are frequently started indoors, and grown indoors for 14 days or longer, before being transplanted outdoors.
Cantaloupe are often picked, and shipped, before fully ripening. Post-harvest practices include treatment with a sodium hypochlorite wash to prevent mold growth and salmonella growth. However this treatment, because it can mask the melon’s musky aroma, can make it difficult for the purchaser to judge the relative quality of different cantaloupes.
Choosing a ripe melon depends on the preferences of the individual. For a heavy musk flavor and softer flesh look for an Eastern Shipper with a strong yellow color, no stem (peduncle) attached, and a strong musk aroma. For a sweeter, crisper melon look for a Western Shipper without stem (peduncle) and a mild musk odor. For a very sweet melon with little or no musk choose a fruit that has the stem still on the fruit and no aroma.
Cantaloupe is normally eaten as a fresh fruit, as a salad, or as a dessert with ice cream or custard. Melon pieces wrapped in prosciutto are a familiar antipasto. Sanjeev Kapoor describes the charentais variety: “the orange, sugary and fragrant flesh makes this fruit popular both as a dessert or main course. These have smooth gray-green rinds and very fragrant orange flesh. It keeps well when stored in a cool, dry place and ripens after several days in a warm room.”
Because the surface of a cantaloupe can contain harmful bacteria—in particular, salmonella [4]—it is always a good idea to wash a melon thoroughly before cutting and consumption. Only store the fruit after cutting for less than three days to prevent risk of salmonella or other bacterial pathogens.
A moldy cantaloupe in a Peoria, Illinois market in 1941 was found to contain the best and highest quality penicillin after a worldwide search.[5]
Recipes

Tuna Steaks with Melon Salsa
Recipe provided by www.Allrecipes.com; Recipe submitted by: Ingrid.
1 small cantaloupe, flesh removed and finely diced
1/2 red chile pepper, seeded and chopped
10 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 pinch salt
1 pinch white sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 (5 ounce) tuna steaks
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1.Combine the cantaloupe, chile pepper, basil, 2 tablespoons olive oil, lime juice, salt, and sugar in a bowl.
2.Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet. Season tuna steaks with salt and pepper. Cook tuna in oil for 3 minutes per side. Spoon cantaloupe mixture over each steak to serve.