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How to Buy Cantaloupe

Follow these tips for bringing home a sweeter pick.

Sure, it’s not rocket science, but choosing the right cantaloupe to take home can be tricky. From the outside, all those melons on display at the store can look pretty much the same, and how the heck are you supposed to know what’s happening under all that thick skin? Well, armed with the right knowledge you can actually get a pretty good idea of what’s going on inside by performing a simple inspection of the outside. Here’s what you need to know.

Buy in Season

You aren’t going to find a sweet, fresh cantaloupe in January. In the U.S., cantaloupe’s best season is from June till August. The rest of the year, cantaloupe is generally shipped from South America, so by the time it’s in stores, it will have been off the vine for a while.

Hold It

It should feel a little heavy for its size.

Take a Close Look

The skin should appear webbed, and there shouldn’t be any dents or bruises. Look for one that’s tan or even slightly yellow -- but not green.

Sniff It

Find the spot where the stem was attached, and take a whiff. A ripe cantaloupe will smell sweet and tasty (just like a slice of juicy cantaloupe).

Poke It

Press the cantaloupe all over to make sure there are no squishy parts. A squishy area means it’s overripe.

-- Erin Walters

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