This week, I found myself faced with a deal I just couldn’t turn down. My end of the deal? 15 cantaloupe. And as soon as I happily accepted them, the lady said, “I hope you can eat a lot of cantaloupe this week!”
I giggled and told her we would probably eat one or two and put the rest up. Her entire face changed. “How do you store them?”
I told her some of my plans and then I got pretty nervous as she appeared to understand. I thought she might want her cantaloupe back. But alas, she wished me well and I was off with my cantaloupe!
So…How do you store cantaloupe? Do you dehydrate it? Can you can it? Does it freeze? Can you put it in a cold cellar? As good as cantaloupe is, many people don’t know how to store it very long.
Can You Dehydrate Cantaloupe?
Cantaloupe is about 95% water. Yeah. I would not suggest dehydrating it by itself. If you wanted to mix it with another fruit, puree the two together and try for fruit roll-ups, you might be on to something.
Can You Can Cantaloupe?
According to thealkalinefoods.com cantaloupe has an average pH of 8.5–which means no water bathing. I did some math and concluded that by the time I pressure canned cantaloupe at the pressure it needed for the time it needed, it would just be goop. Sorry Friends. I would never suggest canning cantaloupe this way.
I do however, plan to make pickled cantaloupe, vanilla cantaloupe jam and a cinnamon cantaloupe preserve. I’ve got my pH paper out, and I’ll be starting these tonight.
Can You Store Cantaloupe In A Cold Cellar?
Yes, but not very long. It’s good on the counter up to 3 days, in the refrigerator for 4 days, and in the cold cellar a week. Bummer. It doesn’t store as well as watermelon in the cold cellar.
How Do You Freeze Cantaloupe?
The first thing you want to do is clean the outside of the melon. This step is often forgotten since it is the flesh in the inside that is eaten. But remember that when you cut it up, the knife first passes the outer rind and if there are any buggies, they will be pulled along everywhere the knife goes.
Once you clean your melon, cut it in half. You have two options from here.
1. Slice the melon in long pieces, cut the rind and any green parts off, and then cube it.
2. Use a melon scooper to make little balls out of the melon. (This is what I did.) If employing this process, realize there will be a lot of in-between pieces left over. Be prepared to feed them to your family, or save them for making ice-cream, a jam, or a preserve (which is also what I am doing).
Now that you have your pieces, either squares or balls, place them on a flat cookie sheet. Make sure they are not touching each other, and put them in the freezer.
Since cantaloupe have such a high water content, I find that they need to be in there 2-3 hours before they are frozen enough to the take off the cookie sheet and store in gallon zip-lock baggies. I can put a little over 2 cantaloupes’ balls in a gallon baggie. If I were to have cut squares, it probably would have been less.
If possible, store flat. I check on them the next day or two to make sure the balls are still loose in the bag and not stuck to each other.
Why Am I So Excited About Frozen Cantaloupe?
According to californiacantaloupes.com just 6 ounces of cantaloupe provides 100% of the daily need for vitamins A and C. Around here, it’s hard to find extra sources of vitamin C in the winter.
These little babies are going to be wonderful during cold and flu season this year!