How long does cantaloupe last in the fridge? If you’re like me, you probably buy a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables every week, with the hope that you’ll be able to enjoy them at home before they go bad. This sweet melon happens to be a popular fruit.
But sometimes it’s hard to keep track of how long different items last. Or how to store them to make sure that they last as long as possible.
What is a Cantaloupe?
A cantaloupe is a type of muskmelon. The flesh of the cantaloup is sweet, tender, and orange in color. Since this fruit is part of the melon plant family, it is related to the watermelon and honeydew melon too. Other fruits from this plant family include pumpkins, squashes, and cucumbers. The cantaloupe grows on low vines and has a webbed outer skin. When the fruit is ripe, the outer rind turns from green to a mostly beige.
How to Choose a Ripe Cantaloupe?
Have you ever wondered how to find a good cantaloupe in grocery stores or a farmers’ market? When searching for that perfectly ripe fresh cantaloupe with delicious flavor, there are a few things to help you make the right choice.
First, the fruit should be rather heavy. This means the melon has a high water content and lots of fresh orange flesh.
Second, look for an outer skin color that is a golden beige under the webbing. An unripe cantaloupe will have a green hue to the skin color.
Next smell the cantaloupe. If you hold the stem end of the fruit close to your nose, it should smell like a sweet cantaloupe. They have a rather distinctive smell, once you have had the pleasure of smelling a ripe fruit, it will help you choose well.
When you cut into the melon it should have a soft and slightly firm texture. Fruit that is tough is underripe, too mushy and it is either overripe or on rotting.
The heft, color, and smell of the fruit will tell you if you have chosen the best cantaloupe.
Can you ripen a melon?
Yes, once a melon is picked, it will continue to ripen. Therefore, if you purchase one that is not quite ready yet, just let it sit at room temperature on the counter for a few days to finish ripening.
If you want to speed up the ripening process and ripen the melon quickly, the easiest way is to place it in a closed paper bag and place it near apples or bananas.
However, the shelf life of cantaloupe once ripened, is only up to four days. Therefore, for best quality, once ripened, it is best to get it into the refrigerator.
How to Prepare a Melon?
For food safety, wash the outside of the melon before cutting into it. Then using a larger knife, cut the cantaloupe in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp from the center of the melon.
From here there are different ways to slice and serve.
Slice into wedges and remove the tough outer peeling from the cut wedges.
Another option is to leave the rind on and eat the orange flesh with a spoon and scoop it out leaving the rough rind behind.
Finally, once the wedges are made and the rind is removed, it can be sliced into bite-sized chunks. This method of cutting the cantaloupe pieces makes it easier for eating.
How to Store Cut Up Cantaloupe?
A whole cantaloupe will last up to ten days or a bit longer when stored in the refrigerator.
Another method is to dice the cantaloupe into 1-inch chunks or use a melon scooper to make uniform round balls. Once cantaloupe has been prepared, it should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last up to three days; therefore, it should be eaten as soon as possible for the freshest taste.
Can you freeze Cantaloupe?
Yes, however, the texture will change. Therefore, once frozen, it will be best used in smoothies and similar type recipes. To freeze fresh cut melon chunks that can be used a few at a time, place the pieces on a lined backing tray. Freeze for a few hours until firm. Then pack them into freezer bags. Label and date the bags.
Another way to freeze cantaloupe is to puree the cantaloupe first, then place the puree into freezer safe containers.
Both methods of freezing cantaloupe will keep the fruit fresh for up to six months, but it can be eaten up to one year after being frozen.
How to tell if cantaloupe has gone bad?
For food safety, it is important to be able to tell if a the melon is just an overripe cantaloupe or a bad cantaloupe.
When looking at a whole melon, if you feel the rind and it starts to soften, the melon is becoming overripe. It should be refrigerated and eaten within a day or two.
Once the rind is soft, has discolored spots, or a lot of bruises, it is time to toss it. You may even see mold growth starting to form. This is a definite sign that the melon is rotting.
If the melon feels light, or hollow, that means it has lost a lot of its water and the fruit is no longer edible.
Smell the cantaloupe. If it has a pungent or sour smell, it is time to throw it out. It should smell sweet.
Once a melon has been cut up, you can tell if it is bad by smelling. When you open the covered container, if you smell a sour off-putting smell, it is time to discard the fruit.
If you see any discoloration or mold on the fruit or the container it is being stored in, it is time to toss.
How to store a cantaloupe?
Use this handy melon storage method chart can help you determine How Long Does Cantaloupe Last in the Fridge at a glance.
It is best to purchase and store cantaloupe in small quantities. The best way is to store the cantaloupe whole. An uncut cantaloupe should be stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to prepare and eat.
It will last up to ten days if stored this way. If you store the fresh melon on the counter, it will last up to four days.
Once the fruit is cut in half and the seeds and pulp are removed, it can be stored with plastic wrap over the cut end in the refrigerator up to five days.
Once the cut, the cut melon wedges can be stored in an airtight container such as a resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator up to three days.
Another option is to freeze the cantaloupe for later use up to one year. While the frozen fruit will have a different texture once frozen, it can be used in a wide variety of recipes such as baking, puree, fruit salad, melon sorbet, and syrup.
For food safety, the cut fruit should not sit out at room temperature longer than two hours. Harmful bacteria can grow and make you sick. The best place to store prepared cantaloupe is in the refrigerator.