In this article, we will answer the question “How to ripen a cantaloupe that has been cut?”, how to ripen a cantaloupe, and how to tell if the cantaloupe has ripened.
How to ripen a cantaloupe that has been cut?
You cannot ripen a cantaloupe once it has been cut. Once cut, cantaloupe does not undergo any changes in its flavor or taste. So, you should always purchase cantaloupe when it has fully ripened or let it ripen before cutting it open.
But all is not lost. You can change the texture of the cut cantaloupe slightly. To do this, wrap the cut surface of the cantaloupe in plastic or just throw it into a paper bag and let it sit in the fridge for some time. The initial Senescence renders the cantaloupe soft and somewhat edible.
How to ripen a cantaloupe?
Ripening cantaloupe on the vine
Look for a shift in color
A change in color from green to yellow or tan may be an indicator of ripeness. But it is not reliable in all cases. Plus you should always look for multiple symptoms of ripeness instead of judging on the first thing you see.
Sometimes, cantaloupe may change color without being fully ripened. Once cut, an unripened cantaloupe won’t undergo any enzymatic reactions that alter its flavor.
Look for indentation around the stem
When the cantaloupe is fully ripe, it develops a crack or hole around the stem or where it is attached to the vine. Your cantaloupe is considered to be in ‘Ful-slip’ at this point.
If you press the cantaloupe with your thumb in the sphere close to the stem, you will notice the flesh of the cantaloupe yields, and the stem starts to come loose. This is a sign that your cantaloupe is ripe.
Harvest the cantaloupe
You do not want to wait for the cantaloupe to fall from the vine due to its weight. A cantaloupe that has fallen on its own accord is highly likely to be overripe, and there is not much you can do about an overripe cantaloupe.
So, just as you observe the crack around the stem and the color shift, you ought to pluck your cantaloupe from the vine.
Ripening cantaloupe off the vine
This works for a freshly harvested ripe cantaloupe or a slightly unripe one. There may b no changes in its sweetness and flavor profile, but you can play with its color and texture.
Put the cantaloupe into a brown bag
Put the melon into a brown bag and fold the bag from the top. You can also use a tie or rubber band to close the bag. Make sure to keep the bag loosely around the melon. We want some air flowing in there without disruption.
What happens is that fruits release ethylene gas after being harvested. The concentration of the gas emitted differs for different fruits. This gas is what makes the fruits grow soft before eventually deteriorating.
By putting the fruit in a paper bag, we are trapping the gas to make its effects more pronounced over a short period. The flesh of the fruit softens as a result of fiber breakdown, and the color changes to a light brown.
Pair the melon with a climacteric fruit
Since bananas and apples are climacteric fruits that produce whopping amounts of ethylene gas. Pair them with your melon to expedite the softening of the fruit flesh.
Note that you are required to use a paper bag and not a plastic bag. A plastic bag does not allow the flow of air due to the lack of pores. Bagging the fruit in the plastic pouch will suffocate the fruit and cause it to ferment.
Leave the melon at room temperature
Room temperature means the environment is neither too cold nor too hot. It is just about right to prevent fruit fermentation and promotes softening of its flesh. Keep on checking the melon for ripeness. It should be good to eat in about 2 days or less.
How to tell if the cantaloupe has ripened?
The hole around the stem: The stem end of the cantaloupe should have a slight depression in the shape of a small circle. The rind around the stem should have cracks. A cantaloupe that has a part of its stem attached to it is unripe. If the melon has soft around all over its surface, it is overripe.
Netting: The netting on the thick rind of the melon does not need to be uniform but it should extend all over the surface of the fruit. It is fine if the netting is more distinct in some spots than others.
Color: You are looking for a tinted gold, yellow, or tan cantaloupe. If the melon appears green, it is unripe.
Touch the melon for soft spots and lift it to feel its weight: The blossom end of the cantaloupe should give in to a little pressure but only slightly. The rind should be firm with no soft spots and the fruit should feel heavy when lifted.
Smell: Get up close with your melon and smell its blossom end. If it smells like a sweet cantaloupe, you are good to go.
In this article, we answered the question “How to ripen a cantaloupe that has been cut?”, how to ripen a cantaloupe, and how to tell if the cantaloupe has ripened.