We wait for them all year, and they are well worth the patience.
It’s a pleasure indeed when we pick up that first heavy cantaloupe of the season! They always feel twice as heavy as they should be, and a little whiff at the stem end gives you a preview of what is to come.
A soup is forecast
My husband spied them at the farmers market first. He looked at me and said “I think there will be melon soup this weekend,” and he was right. Not only was there a large display of these gems, a quick look at the farmer’s truck and we knew the rain clouds of July had at least one silver lining, a bumper crop of cantaloupes, some bigger than my head!
Cantaloupe or Muskmelon?
Cantaloupes are a muskmelon and member of the gourd family, but not all muskmelons are cantaloupes. Other muskmelons include honeydew and Persian melons. Cantaloupes are a nutritional powerhouse, full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, particularly Vitamins C, A, K, and Bs, and excellent source of potassium, folate, niacin, magnesium, and thiamine. Low in calories and high in fiber, they tick a lot of the nutritional boxes. A cup has just 60 calories and 14 carbs. Cantaloupes are said to support eye health, protect against cancer, and lower blood pressure. Plus, they are pretty darn tasty.
Don’t toss the seeds!
In addition to all this nutrition, the seeds are also edible and quite nutritious, little fiber bombs!
When in season, eat your fill
I purchased two massive melons and turned one into soup, the other we snacked on all weekend, and delicious it all was.
Some for us, some for the kids
Make this soup with or without the wine. If I’m serving it to kids, I substitute a little orange juice to make the simple syrup. For adults, the wine version is quite tasty and refreshing and not quite as sweet. Always adjust the sweetener to your own liking.
Summer Cantaloupe Soup
- 1 large cantaloupe the size of your head, to make one quart purée
- Juice and zest of one lemon
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup native honey
- 1” knob ginger root, bruised
- To garnish: dash of curry powder, melon balls, a few blueberries
Scrub the outside of the cantaloupe well with mild soap and a brush. The ribbed texture can harbor bacteria. Rinse. Cut the melon in half and remove the seeds, then quarter and peel. A perfectly ripe melon will have a thinner proportion of skin to flesh. Chop the melon roughly then place in a food processor with the salt. You will need 1 quart of the purée for this recipe. Chill.
In a small saucepan, place the wine, the ginger, and the honey. Bring it just to a simmer, then remove from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Remove the ginger.
Add the syrup to the melon purée and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Serve in chilled dishes, and garnish with a shake of curry powder and any other embellishments you’d like. Add some melon balls and blueberries, perhaps a dollop of crème fraiche or Greek yoghurt. Drizzle a bit more honey, or top with some toasted melon seeds, below.
Toasted Cantaloupe Seeds
- Seeds from your melon
- A spritz of olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Boil the seeds for 15 minutes to soften, then pat dry. The seeds are very fibrous, which is good from a health standpoint, but bad if you are trying to chew them, thus the need for the initial boiling.
Place on parchment lined baking sheet and spritz with the oil, then season. You can add other spices if you like, Chinese five-spice is delicious here.
Roast at 350 for 15 minutes or so, until just starting to color.
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