Cantaloupe (also cantelope, cantaloup, muskmelon (India and the United States), mushmelon, rockmelon, sweet melon, Persian melon, or spanspek (South Africa)) refers to a variety of Cucumis melo, a species in the family Cucurbitaceae.
Cantaloupes range in weight from 0.5 to 5 kilograms (1.1 to 11.0 lb). Originally, cantaloupe referred only to the non-netted, orange-fleshed melons of Europe. However, in more recent usage, it has come to mean any orange-fleshed melon (C. melo) and is the most popular variety of melon in North America.
The European cantaloupe is lightly ribbed, 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. Varieties with redder and yellower flesh exist, but are not common in the US market.
In 2013, world production of melons, including cantaloupes, was 29.4 million tonnes, with China accounting for 49% of the total (14.4 million tonnes). Other significant producers in 2013 were Turkey, Iran, Egypt and India (range of 1.7 to 1 million tonnes).
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 recommended to wash and scrub a melon thoroughly before cutting and consumption. The fruit should be refrigerated and consumed less than three days after cutting to prevent risk of Salmonella or other bacterial pathogens.
Cantaloupe in cross-section
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||141 kJ (34 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||0.9 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Raw cantaloupe is 90% water, 8% carbohydrates, 0.8% protein and 0.3% fat, providing 34 Calories (kcal) and 2020 mg of the provitamin A orange carotenoid, beta-carotene per 100 gram amount (table). Fresh cantaloupe is an excellent source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin C (44% DV) and vitamin A (21% DV), with other nutrients in negligible content (less than 10% DV) (table).
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- Munnoch, S. A.; Ward, K.; Sheridan, S.; Fitzsimmons, G. J.; Shadbolt, C. T.; Piispanen, J. P.; Wang, Q.; Ward, T. J.; Worgan, T. L. M.; Oxenford, C.; Musto, J. A.; McAnulty, J.; Durrheim, D. N. (2009). "A multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul in Australia associated with cantaloupe consumption". Epidemiology and Infection 137 (3): 367–74. doi:10.1017/S0950268808000861. PMID 18559128.
- "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
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- Sorting Cucumis names– Multilingual multiscript plant name database]