Today less and less people are buying melons whole mainly because of the modern convenience of buying pre-cut melons. If you are looking to eat a melon right now then it makes sense to buy a pre-cut melon, but if you plan to eat your melon over the course of a few days then you really should buy it whole and cut it yourself. Cut fruit spoils faster than whole fruit and it also costs more. Now before we get into how to cut a Cantaloupe I want to clear one up a misunderstood fact in America. The picture above is not a cantaloupe, it is a muskmelon. To learn more about cantaloupe vs. muskmelon check out my previous post.
For the sake of convenience in this post I will refer to this fruit as a cantaloupe. When cutting a cantaloupe the first thing you want to do is cut it in half from the top to the bottom. The way to tell is to look for where the stem was (at the top) and the “belly button” at the bottom. The “belly button” is the part you want to smell to tell if the cantaloupe is ripe (if it smells like a cantaloupe then it is good to eat, if it has no smell then it is not ripe enough). Once you cut the cantaloupe in half use a spoon (or hands) and scoop out the seeds.
Lay the cantaloupe half so that the flat side is down, then use a chef’s knife and cut the top and bottom ends off. You can discard these two pieces because there isn’t going to be any cantaloupe meat on them that you would want to eat. Now cut 1″ strips going in the same direction as your recent two cuts so that you end up with curved strips of cantaloupe (aka, what you usually see in the salad bar).
Now you can serve cantaloupe like this if your guests (or you) enjoy getting your hands a little dirty. However, if you want to have little cubes like the pre-cut cantaloupe at the super market then use the chef’s knife and carefully cut the meat away from the outer shell. It helps to place the cantaloupe shell side down then just hold the knife horizontally and drag it to separate the meat from the shell.
Once the cantaloupe meat is separated just lay it down and cut into bite size pieces.
It is that simple! I’ve seen many other methods which involve cutting the top and bottom off first, then trying to “carve” the shell off the cantaloupe and that method to me takes longer and is more prone to accidents, both to the cantaloupe and the cutter. I hope you can now enjoy some fresh cut cantaloupe (aka muskmelon).
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