Cantaloupes: April Produce of the Month

Hi Bulls!

Can you believe the semester is almost over? It’s definitely study season on campus. This month’s Produce of the Month makes a great study snack and is a classic fruit salad staple, the cantaloupe! No one quite knows where melons originated from. They were a favorite of Marco Polo, as he would write about them often. One of the earliest recipes for melons found was written by a Roman named Apicius. He suggested a savory flavor where they are simmered with vinegar, honey, black pepper and parsley.

Cantaloupes have a small amount of omega-3 fatty-acids, which isn’t common for fruits. This type of fat is an essential fat that our body needs because it cannot make it. It is incorporated into our cell membranes and plays a role in cell to cell communication via receptors. The pale orange color of cantaloupes comes from carotene, a pigment which is a precursor to vitamin A. This water-soluble vitamin aids in proper vision, as well as immune function. Cantaloupes are also a good source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant which helps our immune system fight free radicals.

Cantaloupes can range in size from a baseball to a volleyball! The outside is usually bumpy but not rough. A similar melon called a sugar melon or muskmelon has the same pale orange flesh, but the outside looks webbed instead. When choosing a good melon, find one that is heavy but not mushy or moldy. You can smell a bit of sweetness right around the area where it came off the vine. These are great on their own as a sweet snack. They give nice color to fruit salads, and a light sweet taste to smoothies. It’s a lot of fun to use a melon-baller and create tiny melon balls for decoration on any dessert plate. For more recipe ideas, visit the recipe section of the Produce of the Month page!

Stay safe, stay healthy!


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