Cantaloupes are in season year round and sometimes I regretfully forget to buy them as often as I would like. I often do this because I focus so much on what is in season or ashamedly "on trend" at the moment. To salute the cantaloupe I am giving you some fun cantaloupe facts this week. There were a definitely a few I wasn't aware of.
- They aren't really “cantaloupe”. The melon that's most widely recognized as cantaloupe in the U.S. is actually a “reticulated muskmelon.” The true cantaloupe– has ribbed pale green skin and looks very different from our cantaloupe.
- Cantaloupe derives its name from the town of Cantalupo, Italy, where cantaloupe seeds arrived from Armenia and were planted in the Papal Gardens in the 16th century.
- Cantaloupe are members of a vine-crop family known as Cucurbitaceae, which includes other melons, squash, cucumbers, and pumpkins.
- Its past is mysterious. No one seems able to pin-point exactly where cantaloupe first showed up.
- An average-sized cantaloupe contains just 100 calories. Who knew something so sweet could be so good and low-cal!
- Cantaloupe tell you when they're ripe. The vine will naturally slip from the fruit when it's harvest time. You'll also notice the skin will turn creamy-beige under the “netted” pattern on the melon.
- Cantaloupe are the most popular melon in the United States.
- Full of nutrients. Cantaloupe is packed with Vitamin A and antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin and cryptoxanthin.
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