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Starting Summer with Melons

Lots of foods seem to be synonymous with summer. Melons are definitely one of those to me: from cantaloupe to honeydew to watermelon and more. So many good things about a sweet, juice-dripping-down-your-chin slice of melon. Yum!

Nutritionally, 1 cup of chopped melon – no matter the variety – contains around 60 calories, 15g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, and is a source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C and potassium. When the flesh is pink or red, these melons are also a source of vitamin A. Like other fruits, melons are not a significant source of fat, protein, or sodium.

  • Buy: Choose melons that are firm and fragrant. A slightly soft melon and a light colored spot where the melon rested on the ground are fine. Avoid melons that are very soft or have cracks or bruises. The old adage about thumping or tapping a melon to determine ripeness is not always accurate.
  • Price: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, fresh watermelon costs $0.21 per 1 cup on average. Since you get a lot of fruit from a single melon, this is very affordable.
  • Store: Keep whole melons in the refrigerator, if possible. Melons keep for a few days up to several weeks, depending on the melon, when chilled. If storing at room temperature, cut up after a day or so.
  • Prepare: Due to food safety concerns, thoroughly wash melons before cutting. Thick skinned cantaloupes and honeydew melons may benefit from cleaning using a vegetable brush.

Decide what size pieces and shapes you want your melon in, from chunks to slices to rings. Refrigerate after cutting.

See this handout for step-by-step instructions on cutting a melon from the University of Minnesota Extension. There are other methods of cutting, so practice until you are comfortable and find a method that makes sense to you.

  • Eat: While often eaten alone, melons are easily added to recipes. Fruit salads and salsas, smoothies, and other recipes take well to melons.

University of California Cooperative Extension, Melons, 2012.
Ohio State University Extension, Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Melons, 2009.
Penn State Extension. Watermelon. N/D.

Melon Lime Cooler (Serves 3)

Feel refreshed with this summer drink.

1 cantaloupe melon
1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
4 tablespoons lime juice
Ice cubes

1. Cut cantaloupe into wedges and scrape seeds out. Slice skin off and cut into chunks.
2. Blend on purée in blender with lime juice and mint leaves.
3. Pour the juice over ice cubes in glasses.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 54 calories, 0g fat, 20mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 1g protein

Source: UI Extension, Herb Gardening

WEB HIGHLIGHT: Try out some more watermelon recipes from the Moderation Maven blog from UI Extension.

WEB HIGHLIGHT 2: Looking to grow watermelon? Read more from the Plant Palette blog from UI Extension.