Cantaloupe (also cantelope, cantaloup, muskmelon (India and the United States), mushmelon, rockmelon, sweet melon, honeydew, Persian melon, or spanspek (South Africa)) refers to a variety of Cucumis melo, a species in the family Cucurbitaceae.
Cantaloupes range in weight from 500 g to 5 kg (1 to 10 lb). Originally, cantaloupe referred only to the non-netted, orange-fleshed melons of Europe. However, in more recent US usage, it has come to mean any orange-fleshed melon (C. melo). Cantaloupe is the most popular variety of melon in the United States.
The name is derived, via French, from the Italian Cantalupo which was formerly a papal county seat near Rome. Tradition has it that this is where it was first cultivated in Europe, on its introduction from Ancient Armenia. Its first known usage in English dates from 1739 on the African Savannah. It is said that British explorer Han Eydo witnessed an antelope attempting to eat the shelled fruit; after trying multiple times, the feat was proved impossible and the antelope left the area. Writing in his scientific journal, Eydo proclaimed that "that antelope sincerely can'telope". (This is also the first recorded pun in British history.) The word later evolved to reflect its current state.
Cantaloupes by region
The European cantaloupe is lightly ribbed (sutured), with a sweet and flavorful flesh and a gray-green skin that looks quite different from that of the North American cantaloupe.
The North American cantaloupe, common in the United States, Mexico, and in some parts of Canada, is actually a muskmelon, a different variety of Cucumis melo, and has a net-like (or reticulated) skin covering. It is a round melon with firm, orange, moderately sweet flesh and a thin, reticulated, light-brown rind.[verification needed] Varieties with redder and yellower flesh exist, but are not common in the U.S. market.
Production and uses
Because they are descended from tropical plants and tend to require warm temperatures throughout a relatively long growing period, cantaloupes grown in temperate climates are frequently started indoors for 14 days or longer before being transplanted outdoors.
Cantaloupes are often picked, and shipped, before fully ripening. Postharvest practices include treatment with a sodium hypochlorite or bleach wash to prevent mold and Salmonella growth. This treatment, because it can mask the melon's musky aroma, can make it difficult for the purchaser to judge the relative quality of different cantaloupes.
Because the surface of a cantaloupe can contain harmful bacteria—in particular, Salmonella—it is always a good idea to wash and scrub a melon thoroughly before cutting and consumption. The fruit should be refrigerated for less than three days after cutting to prevent risk of Salmonella or other bacterial pathogens.
Cantaloupe from Australia
and its cross-section
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||141 kJ (34 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||0.9 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
- George W. Swink, inventor of the cantaloupe crate
- "Taxon: Cucumis melo L. subsp. melo var. cantalupo Ser.". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Area. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
- "Cantaloupe". WHFoods. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- Oxford English Dictionary 2nd Ed. (1989)
- Ensminger: 159
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- "Sweet, colorful 'cantaloupe': low-cal, nutritious" (July 2003) Environmental Nutrition 26.7
- "Kentucky: Cabinet for Health and Family Services - Salmonella2012". Retrieved 2012-08-18.
In general, the FDA recommends thoroughly washing and scrubbing the rinds of all cantaloupes and melons prior to cutting and slicing, and to keep sliced melons refrigerated prior to eating.
- Mary Bellis, History of Penicillin - Alexander Fleming - John Sheehan - Andrew Moyer
- "Cucumis melo". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved September 3, 2002.
- Ensminger, Audrey H (1995). The Concise Encyclopedia of Foods & Nutrition. CRC Press: ISBN 0-8493-4455-7.
- Melons and Watermelons in the Classical Era, Alfred C. Andrews, Osiris, Vol. 12, (1956), pp. 368–375
- Cantaloupe - Origin Global Oneness
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- Nutritional and Historical Information
- MSNBC Article on Farming of Hybridization That Mentions Cantaloupes
- Sorting Cucumis names– Multilingual multiscript plant name database
- Growing cantaloupes in the home garden
- Cantaloupe: Safe methods to store, preserve and enjoy, from University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources