My sister and I watched Dad turn and fertilize the soil of his garden. Plant seedling plants for the tomatoes, string beans, black-eyed peas, squash, zucchini, and cantaloupe. We mostly watched the cantaloupe grow into long vines. Among the leaves, small buds gradually grew to burst into yellow blossoms. Then the beginning of the cantaloupe would appear. When it was at full size, my sister and I started a non-verbal game of who can get to the melon first. Picking a melon too early resulted in a bland taste, but if it stayed too long on the vine, it would rot on the ground. A melon is ready when the bottom has an overripe, sweet smell. My sister had the advantage of watching the melons, because her bedroom window over looked the garden. Often, I would come home to find her finishing a whole melon. When I found a just ripe melon, I would eat it in less than 20 minutes. One year, Dad complained he never ate a melon from the garden, because my sister and I found them first.
Last week’s farmshare included one watermelon and two cantaloupes. Instead of consuming both cantaloupes in less than 40 minutes, I wondered what recipe to use. I seldom use my favorite fruit in recipes. It’s best to enjoy it simply as is, especially if their season is only a few weeks of the year. In my little girl thinking, two cantaloupes were not enough. In my adult thinking, it was just right, because I’m a long way from Dad’s vegetable garden.
A friend suggested making an Aqua Fresca. It’s difficult to imagine diluting my favorite summer fruit. Instead, strong brewed green tea replaced the water. I recommend brewing tea at home. Loose-leaf green tea has more nutrients than the dust sold in the small paper pouches (The triangle net bags have good quality tea leaves). The cantaloupe itself is a powerhouse of vitamin C and A with a healthy dose of B vitamins. As for the amount of sugar used in this drink, judge wisely to keep it healthy and light. If the melon is summer sweet, no additional sugar is needed.
This is the only time of year to eat cantaloupes. I’m convinced most people who don’t like it, probably had it in the winter when it’s tasteless. Why unripe melons are served off-season, I have no idea. There’s nothing like coming home to the smell of an overripe melon. Only melon lovers understand its seductive smell. Currently, I’m the only one in my household who likes cantaloupe. Such childhood games are of the past, but I will still eat a whole cantaloupe in less than 20 minutes.
Stay up-to-date with yummy, new food posts from My Life Runs On Food via email. Subscribe today!