The cantaloupe originated in India and Africa and were cultivated by the Egyptians and later the Greeks and Romans. They were first introduced to North America by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1494. It is a good source of fiber, niacin, Vitamin B6 and Folate, and a very good source of Vitamins A, C and K. Sweet and juicy, cantaloupes are wonderful in summer salads, cool soups, smoothies, or just eaten plain.
Cantaloupe Recipes in this Section:
Cantaloupe Ice Cream
1-1/2 cups chopped cantaloupe
2-1/4 cups milk (any combination of heavy cream, whole milk, 2%, 1%, or skim milk)
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Chop cantaloupe in a food processor to desired consistency.
Mix 1 cup of milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla until all sugar is dissolved. Add chopped cantaloupe and rest of milk to mixture. Pour ice cream mixture into a 1.5-quart ice cream maker, according to manufacturer directions. Let mix until thickened (about 15-20 minutes).
Serve immediately, or transfer to freezer-safe container and freeze until more solid.
Chilled Cantaloupe Soup with Ginger & Mint
1 ripe cantaloupe
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons cream
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons honey
1 small sprig of fresh mint
Pinch of salt
Peel & slice the cantaloupe into large chunks.
Place the cantaloupe pieces, yogurt, lemon juice, honey, ginger, and salt into a food processor or blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth & creamy. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Add in a few mint leaves and pulse a few times, until mint is chopped and incorporated into the mix.
Pour mixture into an airtight container and chill in the refrigerator for an hour before serving. Prior to serving, stir in the cream. Ladle into cups or small bowls and garnish with a mint leaf.
Cantaloupe Meringue Pie
1 1/2 cups finely ground shortbread cookies
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 large very ripe cantaloupe
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar (increase up to 1/2 cup if your cantaloupe isn’t very sweet)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. water
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. vanilla
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
6 tbsp. sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Mix together shortbread cookie crumbs and melted butter until the crumbs hold together well (you may need to add another tablespoon of melted butter if they don’t). Press evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9″ pie plate. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the crust starts to lightly brown on the top and edges. Set aside to cool.
Turn your oven up to 400 degrees (F). Cut your cantaloupe in half and discard the seeds. Scoop out the pulp (a cookie or ice cream scoop works great for this) and put into a large saucepan.
Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil, mashing the cantaloupe as it heats to bring out all the juice. Transfer the mashed cantaloupe pulp to a food processor or blender and process for a minute or until smooth. You should have about 2 cups of cantaloupe, if you have more, set aside the rest for another use (like a granita or a sorbet). Pour the 2 cups of cantaloupe back into the saucepan.
Mix together flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in 1/2 tsp. of water. Add the flour and cornstarch mixtures to the cantaloupe and cook, stirring, until thickened.
Separate your eggs, placing the yolks into a medium bowl and the whites in small bowl. Set aside the whites and let come to room temperature.
Beat egg yolks until smooth. Add 2 tbsp. of water. Stir a little of the cantaloupe mixture into the egg yolks in order to heat the yolks gradually. Pour the yolk mixture into cantaloupe mixture. Continue cooking for about 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly, until the filling is thick and creamy and can coat a spoon.
Remove from heat. Add in butter and vanilla and stir until the butter has fully melted. The filling should look like a custard or pudding and in fact you could transfer it to a ramekin and chill to eat it as such. Pour into the baked pie crust.
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar together until frothy. Continue beating, adding 6 tablespoons sugar (feel free to use less if you prefer your desserts less sweet) gradually, until stiff peaks form. Scoop the meringue on top of the pie filling and smooth with a spatula.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until delicately brown on top. Cool completely. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Store in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap.