Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tasting a slice

Fresh picked Musk Melon

Bin of Fresh Musk Melon

If you love eating cantaloupe, you will love chomping down on fresh ripe musk melon even better. Musk melon have the same wonderful taste of cantaloupe but with a much bolder flavor. Grown locally and harvested in late summer they look almost indentical to cantaloupe. I cut a few melons open when I am doing field inspections and perform a taste test before I buy.

I like to visit growers on a regular basis to make sure they are following good farming practices. I can ask questions about the crop and they learn what my expectations are. This is important because many farms pick melons immature and they don't ripen properly (a common complaint). Field inspectors are a necessary part of a good buying program.

Choosing a good melon:

When choosing musk melon and cantaloupe, fruit with an underlying greenish color with take a long time to ripen. The rind will turn yellow as the ripening process progresses and give off a wonderful aroma. The belly button (where the vine was attached) should be clean and dry when you press your thumb against it. A clean belly button means the melon was picked at full maturity (called "full slip") and will ripen properly on your kitchen counter.

Ripen melons at room temperature until they smell nice (hold it up to your nose and smell). To speed up the ripening process put the melon in a plastic bag (2 bags is better) and tie the end. This traps the ethylene gas fruits naturally produce and will ripen the fruit 30-40% faster. Refrigerate ripe fruit.

Enjoy and let me know what you thought of your first taste of this fabulous melon...


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