I remember growing up detesting one and only one dessert fruit – the cantaloupe. In the Philippines, we call it melon (accent on the “lon”). Somehow I couldn’t tolerate the taste and texture, and I didn’t know why.
Then a friend convinced me to try the melon juice – sweetened cold water infused with melon flesh delicately grated from the fruit using a tool that creates long orange “worm” strips (I’ll write about that next time). After I enjoyed that wonderfully refreshing and tasty drink, the cantaloupe and I became buddies.
Here in the US, cantaloupes are available in groceries as whole fruits, shrink-wrapped slices with the skin on, and chunks in clamshell containers. Naturally, they are most expensive when already prepared bite-size, ready to eat; the price of a small bowl of chunks is sometimes higher than that of a whole fresh harvest fruit.
So, whenever I feel prudent, I ignore the chunks, grab a whole fruit, and set my mind to slicing the cantaloupe myself. It’s really quite easy. Let me show you.
1. Get a whole cantaloupe. You will know it’s ripe and sweet when the skin is starting to get wrinkly and the fruit is giving off a sweet aroma. Grab a cutting board, kitchen knife, spoon, container for the seeds, and container for the chunks.
2. Slice the fruit in half. It doesn’t matter if it’s lengthwise or crosswise, because the fruit is generally round. I prefer to slice crosswise, but that’s just me.
3. Scoop out the seeds and fibrous material from the core of the fruit.
4. Lay the half on the cutting board like an upside-down bowl. Slice off the skin by working from the top and down the sides.
5. Make vertical cuts, about an inch wide, across the skinned half fruit.
6. Follow with 1-inch perpendicular cuts to create chunks. They won’t be the same sizes but you can follow-up with quick cuts to make the big chunks smaller.
Et voila! Bon appetit!