Virtual CSA Box: Cantaloupe

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Cantaloupes are a favorite summer fruit - pungent and fragrant when ripe, and full of deep, sweet goodness. If you have one in your CSA box, lucky you.

Cantaloupes are a type of muskmelon. In Europe you find a different breed of cantaloupe - smooth and green, while in the States they are usually light brown with lightly webbed rind. Hopefully yours smells good - sniffing the stalk end of a cantaloupe is a good way to determine if it's ripe or not. If it doesn't smell like anything at all, good chance that it's going to be tasteless too. Leave it out at room temperature for a few days until it starts to give off a sweet scent.

What do you like to do with cantaloupe, other than slice and eat?

We often buy a cantaloupe and cut it into chunks for a few days' worth of lunches. The classic pairing of cantaloupe with prosciutto or salty ham is always good, too. We also like to put it into this Lemon and Honey Fruit Salad.

The melon lends itself well to light, summery desserts, like Cantaloupe and Orange Muscat Sorbet and Cantaloupe Smoothie. The best gelato we had in Italy (which is really saying something) was a cantaloupe gelato that tasted more like a melon than the melon itself. It was amazing - we're still trying to replicate it.

We don't usually associate it with baked goods, but this Cantaloupe Bread sounds interesting, as does this Cantaloupe Pie.