Just driving past one of the local farmers’ market stands makes my mouth water. From homegrown July tomatoes to the mounds of delicious melons, I love the hot summer foods.
When I was younger, cantaloupe may not have been one of my favorite fruits. However as we age, our tastebuds change and now there is nothing more refreshing than cubes of cantaloupe with every meal of the day.
One of the favorite things to do with summer is to make your water flavored. Adding a small slice mint and a cube of cantaloupe can bring a whole new flavor to the water we so greatly need to be drinking in the summer. This summer is an example of the need to hydrate more each day. So drinking a flavored water that you make fresh is not only delicious but refreshing as well as healthy.
Summer brings on ice cream and popsicles of all flavors. However some folks with lactose intolerance and allergies to milk products may find cantaloupe sorbet a tasty substitute. Sorbets are a popular way to enjoy that cool refreshing taste along with cleaning your palate before eating a spicy meal.
Puréed cantaloupe that has been frozen has a remarkably creamy texture that almost tastes like ice cream.
Even with perfectly ripe fruit, you’ll need to add a bit of sugar, both to sweeten the fruit (frozen things taste less sweet than they would at room temperature) and to make the texture like sorbet instead of like an ice cube. But you want to bring out as much of the natural cantaloupe flavor as possible.
Cantaloupe has lots of benefits to it. It helps with our digestion. Poor digestion can cause you a lot of discomfort and pain. It can also lead to embarrassing situations. This is why having a healthy digestion is so important. Healthy digestion is also critical for a healthy body.
For you to enjoy good digestion, you need to consume a balanced diet that besides containing nutrients like carbohydrate, protein, and fat, also has adequate fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Similar to melons, cantaloupe is high in water, which makes it a hydrating fruit for the body as a whole, and for the digestive tract. It also contains a significant amount of fiber.
The combination of water and fiber in cantaloupe is good for digestion and elimination of waste.
So enjoy some healthy cantaloupe today!!!
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar, more or less depending on the ripeness of the melon
1 small cantaloupe, trimmed and cut in cubes
On the stove, melt the sugar in water. Continue boiling to make a simple syrup. Take off stove and let cool.
While cooling, trim and seed the cantaloupe. Cut in small cubes that will easily be pureed in a food processor.
Process the cantaloupe. You may need to use some of the simple syrup to make it the correct consistency. Add the rest of the simple syrup. Sample to see if it is sweet enough. If not add more syrup.
Chill in the refrigerator or freezer for about an hour. Then add mixture to your ice cream maker and churn as if this was ice cream. (If you do not have an ice cream freezer, then pour the chilled mixture into a small metal baking pan and freeze. Be sure to stir every 30 minutes to make it a creamier texture.) Keep in refrigerator and serve when needed.
Just a few bites on one of these 100 degree days will cool you down with a flavor.
Cantaloupe juice is not only tasty, cool and refreshing, it is also a good source of vitamin B6, niacin, vitamin A and folate. It is also very high in vitamin C. Because of this, one of the main benefits is the fact that it is loaded with immune system boosting nutrients and various antioxidants.
with Honey Lime Dressing
1 mini seedless watermelon , diced into small cubes (5 cups)
1 cantaloupe , diced into small cubes (5 cups)
1 honeydew , diced into small cubes (5 cups)
1 pineapple , diced into small cubes (3-1/2 cups)
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
Drain diced fruit, put fruit in a large bowl.
In a jar or bowl whisk together honey, lime juice and mint. Pour over fruit, toss to evenly coat. Serve immediately. (It is important to add dressing right before you serve. It will mix quickly with watermelon and pineapple juices for a delightful flavor.)
Orange Cantaloupe Punch
4 cups cubed melon (cantaloupe or seedless watermelon)
1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
Fresh mint sprig, optional
In blender, place half the melon cubes and juice; cover, process until smooth. Strain into a pitcher. Process water and sugar until sugar melts. Place remaining melon in water/sugar mixture; cover, process until smooth. Strain into first mixture. Stir until combined. Chill. Serve over ice with mint sprigs.
MARY KATE RIDGEWAY, a retired Extension leader, is a freelance home economist and educator.