Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What's In Season Now: Cantaloupe

Serving fresh fruit for a family meal is a great way to add more nutritional values to your diet and if it's there ready to eat, kids and adults alike are more likely to serve it up on their plates. Cantaloupe is a fresh-tasting, sweet melon that is in season all summer so take advantage of the best prices now.

Cantaloupe is a nutritional powerhouse that is low in calories (about 50 calories per cup) and high in potassium (490 mg per cup). Potassium helps you keep your heart healthy and help regulate blood pressure. Cantaloupe is also an excellent source of vitamins A and C!

Cut up the cantaloupe all at once and store in containers in the refrigerator for quickly packing for lunches or snacks.

Tools you need to cut a cantaloupe quickly and safely:

  • Large chef knife
  • Small paring knife
  • Tablespoon (Your table utensil, not measuring spoon)
  • Cutting board
An efficient way to cut a cantaloupe:
  • On a clean cutting board, cut the cantaloupe in half on the vertical line (longway) with the chef knife.
  • Using a tablespoon scoop out the seeds and make sure you empty as much of the liquid from the hole in the middle.
  • Starting with the first half, slice the melon half in 4 vertical strips.
  • Then use the small paring knife to follow along the line of the rind against the flesh. Discard the rind and any green edges. With the paring knife slice cross-wise to form chunks.
  • Repeat with the other half.
  • Store in a container for serving or the refrigerator. Work next to the sink or garbage can to discard quickly and clear your space to keep your board clear.
Cantaloupe Snack Suggestions:
  • Power Energy: Serve 1 cup of cantaloupe with 1/2 cup of low fat cottage cheese.
  • Italian Appetizer: Wrap prosciutto slice around cantaloupe slice (don't cut into chunks for this snack)
  • Accent for Salad: Slice cantaloupe for a spinach or arugula salad paired with Serrano ham or prosciutto and red onion slices. Use a red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing for a balance of the sweet, salty, and spicy flavors.
  • Sweet Treat - Homemade Popsicles: Puree cantaloupe in the blender with a bit of water. Pour mixture into popsicle molds and serve to the family on a hot day.

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