Cantaloupe 5 Ways

Summertime in Texas encourages cool meals. We have been thankful that so far hurricane season has not produced bad storms in our area. Rain has been unpredictable – flash floods in Houston and only a few showers here and there for us. So it is dry and unbearably hot. Air conditioning helps, and so does having cold foods on the table for meals. Salads are included often. Also, melons are favorites in our family, Watermelon and cantaloupe are part of my earliest childhood memories of summer in Texas. Both sets of my grandparents grew melons at one time so we had plenty. I can close my eyes and taste the sweetness of fresh melon, even the sensation of their juices dripping on my chin!  When Joe and I were growing up in East Texas, both watermelon and cantaloupe got a sprinkling of salt before we ate them. My family even added pepper to sliced cantaloupe.

The cantaloupe slices above are special because they grew in our own garden. All these years later, I have learned to love the taste of a squeeze of lime juice on melons, and like to serve them in a variety of ways as an addition to meals. You can always add melon to a breakfast smoothie, but consider trying  –

  1. Cantaloupe wrapped in a thin slice of prosciutto – wonderful with Italian food.
  2. Cantaloupe, watermelon, and other fresh fruits like peaches or pineapple, sprinkled with a spicy seasoning like Penzey’s Pico Fruta. The spice and heat makes the sweet of the melon even more mouth watering.
  3. Coarsely chopped fresh melon and berries drizzled with poppy seed dressing.
  4. Chopped melon along with kiwi slices scattered on top of whipped cream on a dessert Pavlova.
  5. Chunks of melon as a surprise element in green salads. One recipe is below.

Spinach Salad with Melon and Mint

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup olive oil

1 Tablespoon sesame seeds

1 Tablespoon poppy seeds

2 Tablespoons honey

1 (10 ounce) bag baby spinach leaves

2 cups cubed seeded watermelon

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In a small bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, vegetable oil, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and honey. Set aside.In a large serving bowl, combine the spinach, watermelon, onion, pecans and mint. Toss with the dressing just before serving.