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Did you know that the fruit North Americans refer to as cantaloupe is actually a muskmelon? Real cantaloupe has a rough, ridged rind and is only available in European markets. Its name comes from Cantalupo, a part of Italy where popes used to grow the fruit in the 1700s.

What we actually harvest here in Quebec is the muskmelon, also known as the netted melon because of the lines on its rind which look like a net. A juicy sweet orange fruit, this melon is believed to be of Persian origin. To avoid any confusion, we’ll be using the more popular term cantaloupe to refer to the muskmelon throughout this article.

Nutrients and benefits

Thanks to its colourful fruit high in beta-carotene and Vitamin C, cantaloupe is the most nutritious melon of all. As you might know, beta-carotene is a precursor to Vitamin A which helps with vision, stimulates bone growth, maintains the immune system and promotes healthy skin.

If you thought citrus fruit was the only great source of Vitamin C, have we got some fresh and tasty news for you! It just so happens that a 250 ml (1 cup) serving of cantaloupe exceeds the daily recommended intake of this essential nutrient with a number of antioxidant properties. It also provides our bodies with a wealth of important benefits, such as preventing premature aging and cell oxidation linked to illnesses like cancer and heart disease, helping us produce collagen, promoting iron absorption, speeding up the healing of wounds and maintaining proper functioning of our immune system.

Cantaloupe also contains a fair amount of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure, makes muscle contraction easier and maintains normal levels of acidity in the blood.

Servings and nutritional value

250 ml (1 cup) of cantaloupe, cubed = 2 servings of fruit



per 250 ml (1 cup) serving


% daily value*

Calories: 60

Fat: 0 g


Carbohydrates: 14 g


Fibre: 1 g


Protein: 1 g

Vitamin C




Selection and storage

Choosing the perfect cantaloupe requires a certain amount of luck. There are several things you can do to find a melon that’s both juicy and sweet, but unfortunately, none seem to be foolproof. Certain connoisseurs go by weight, believing that the heavier a melon is for its size, the better it tastes. Others recommend performing a thump test. If you hear a deep, full sound when gently hitting the side of the fruit with the palm of your hand, you have a winner. Then there are those who recommend applying a little pressure at the stem end. If the area is soft, it means the fruit is ripe. Last but not least is the nose technique, which consists of smelling cantaloupes until you find one that has a sweet, mouth-watering aroma. Regardless of the approach you prefer when choosing your fruit, beware of strong odours as they usually mean the melon is overripe and has started fermenting.

If a cantaloupe isn’t ripe when you buy it, keep it at room temperature to let its organoleptic properties develop over the course of a few days.

You can store cantaloupe in your refrigerator for about 5 days when it’s whole, or 2-3 days when it’s open and tightly wrapped in plastic film. Be sure to leave the seeds in any unused portions of the melon as this will keep it nice and juicy.

Culinary uses

Sweet refreshing fruit like cantaloupe can be enjoyed any time of day and on any occasion. Whether it’s for breakfast, snack or dessert, in a salad or at a cocktail party, biting into a nice, juicy piece of cantaloupe is always sure to tickle your tastebuds.

Chef’s tips

• Take cantaloupe out of the fridge a few minutes before serving for maximum flavour.
• Cantaloupe pairs well with prosciutto and feta cheese.
• Put one cantaloupe ball and one goat cheese ball rolled in crushed pistachios on a little skewer. These quick and easy appetizers are a little taste of heaven!
• Repurpose cantaloupe rinds to make creative bowls for serving fruit salad or cantaloupe balls with cottage cheese and slivered almonds. Who could resist such a stylish, healthy dish?
• Add cantaloupe chunks to your salads for a fun summer twist. Tomatoes, spinach, arugula, watercress, mint, strawberries, shrimp, bocconcini, feta and balsamic vinegar are just some of the many foods that pair perfectly with the honeyed flavour of cantaloupe.

Did you know?

• It’s possible for the outside of cantaloupes to get contaminated with harmful bacteria like salmonella at some point between the time they’re harvested and when they make it to your plate. In order to avoid introducing bacteria to the edible part of the fruit, it’s recommended that you scrub the rind clean under running water before cutting into it. To avoid infection, wash ALL melons thoroughly before slicing and eating them.
• Quebec cantaloupes are only in season for a very short time (August and September), so be sure to enjoy this sweet, tasty treat whenever it’s available!

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