A cantaloupe is a type of fruit.
This fruit is a variety of melon and it is grown all around the world.
Cantaloupe is the common name used for two varieties of muskmelon (cultivars of Cucumis melo), which is a species in the flowering plant family Cucurbitaceae (a family that includes nearly all melons and squashes).
Cantaloupe vines are trailing and are slightly hairy with simple oval leaves arranged alternately on the stem.
The plant produces small yellow flowers which are 1.2–3.0 cm (0.5–1.2 in) in diameter and large oval to round fruit with green to orange flesh. Melon is an annual plant and a vine can grow up to 3 m (9.8 ft) in length.
Cantaloupes are typically 15 to 25 centimeters (6 to 10 inches) in length and are somewhat oblong, though not as oblong as watermelons. Cantaloupes range in weight from 0.5 to 5 kilograms (1 to 11 lb).
The European cantaloupe, C. melo var cantalupensis, 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, C. melo var reticulatus, common in the United States, Mexico, and some parts of Canada, is a different variety of Cucumis melo, a muskmelon that has a “net-like” (reticulated) skin covering. It is a round melon with firm, orange, moderately sweet flesh and a thin, reticulated, light-grey rind.
Cantaloupe is normally eaten as a fresh fruit, as a salad, or as a dessert with ice cream or custard.
It can be also cut in to pieces wrapped in prosciutto are also a familiar antipasto dish that is sure to delight.
There are 34 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of cantaloupe.
Cantaloupe is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids). It is also a good source of B vitamins (B1, B3, B6, and folate) as well as vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, copper, and fiber. When the edible seeds of the cantaloupe are eaten, this melon also provides a measurable about of omega-3 fat in the form of alpha-linolenic acid.
The health benefits of cantaloupe include prevention of heart attacks, improves eye health, good for skin, weight loss, prevents arthritis, healthy lungs, boost the immune system, improves cardiovascular system and prevent cancer.
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 after cutting it and consumed in less than three days to prevent risk of Salmonella or other bacterial pathogens.
Cantaloupe is thought to have been grown first in Rome and Greece. Still there other findings that show other areas as the origin of cantaloupe, including Egypt where it is thought to have been grown around 2400 BC.
It was originally cultivated about the year 1700 from seeds brought from Armenia, part of the homeland of melons.
The cantaloupe was named after the commune Cantalupo in Sabina, in the Sabine Hills near Tivoli, Italy, a summer residence of the Pope.
Cantaloupes were first introduced to North America by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1494. Cantaloupe seeds were planted and shared with the native population who received the new fruit with enthusiasm.
In the US, California is the biggest cultivator of cantaloupe, particularly in the Imperial Valley and San Joaquin Valley of Central California. It produces more than half of the entire country’s fruit. Other states include Indiana, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, and Georgia.
China is the largest producer of cantaloupes accounting for 51% of the world total. Other significant countries growing cantaloupe were Turkey, Iran, Egypt, and India.
Discovering that a cantaloupe is ripe is a challenge. Just wait for the fruit itself to indicate its ripeness. In harvest time, the vine will detach from the fruit and the rind, underneath the netting, will turn beige or cream.