Crazy for Cantaloupe

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In season now and such a sign of the freshness of summer are the ripe juicy cantaloupes! The sweet enticing aroma of this light orange treat is only one of the reasons that cantaloupe are the most popular melon in the United States. Cantaloupe does have some redeeming health benefits to add to the juicy freshness!!

  • Cantaloupes are a great Source of Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene
    In fact, cantaloupes contain concentrated amounts of beta-carotene. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A. Both nutrients are essential for the maintenance of healthy eyesight. Research has also shown that there may be a possible link between beta-carotene and cancer prevention.
  • Cantaloupes are a great Source of Vitamin C
    Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which functions in the water-soluble parts of the body. Vitamin C also strengthens your immune system by stimulating your white blood cells. Your white blood cells are responsible for killing viruses, bacteria and other foreign elements that seek to enter your body.
  • Cantaloupes promote the Health of Your Lungs
    A recent study showed that consumption of a vitamin A-rich food like cantaloupe is also beneficial to smokers. If you’re a smoker or someone who is constantly exposed to second-hand smoke then you might want to make cantaloupes a regular part of your diet. One of the carcinogens found in cigarette smoke reportedly created a vitamin A deficiency in the body. When you start incorporating more vitamin A into your diet, the deficiency is reversed and you also lower your risk of developing lung diseases like emphysema.
  • Cantaloupes aid in prevention of Cardiovascular Disease
    Cantaloupes are also rich in a compound called adenosine. Adenosine is typically administered to patients who have heart disease since this compound has blood-thinning properties. The folate, also present in cantaloupes and all types of melons also help in preventing a heart attack.
  • Cantaloupes reduces Stress
    Cantaloupe might also be an ideal fruit to eat during those times when you are feeling anxious and stressed. Cantaloupe is rich in potassium, which normalizes the heartbeat and promotes the supply of oxygen to the brain. As a result, you feel more relaxed and focused.

If you want to add some adventure to your cantaloupe treat, try some of these interesting and different recipes!!

Cantaloupe Yogurt Drink

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cantaloupe chunks (from ½ cantaloupe)
  • 2 cups low-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons honey
  • Ice cubes, for serving

Directions

  1. In a blender, place cantaloupe, yogurt, and honey. Blend on high speed until smooth.
  2. Serve over ice.

Cantaloupe and Cherry Tomato Salsa

Ingredients

  • 2 cups diced cantaloupe
  • 2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup minced shallots
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh oregano or basil
  • 2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange rind
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl; toss well.
  2. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Serves 6, each ⅔ cup serving contains Calories 44, Fat 0.5g, Protein 1.4g, Carbohydrate 10.8g, Fiber 1.4g, Cholesterol 0.0mg, Sodium 109mg, Calcium 32mg.

Spicy Cantaloupe Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. fresh limejuice
  • 1 tsp. minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 small red or green jalapeno, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
  • ¼ c. torn fresh mint leaves
  • 1 fresh cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
  • ½ cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, flesh thinly sliced
  • Whisk together soy sauce, limejuice, and ginger in a small bowl.

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine jalapeno, mint leaves, cucumber, and cantaloupe.
  2. Add dressing and stir to coat.

Serves 4.

Honey Mint Cantaloupe Kabobs

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cantaloupe, cut into chunks
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh mint leaves, or less depending on taste

Directions

  1. Preheat grill for medium heat.
  2. Thread the cantaloupe chunks onto 4 skewers. In a small fireproof saucepan, heat butter and honey on the grill (or the stove) until melted. Stir in mint. Brush cantaloupe with honey mixture.
  3. Lightly oil grate. Place skewers on heated grill. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, turning to cook all sides. Serve with remaining sauce on the side.

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cantaloupe
  • 2 cups orange juice, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • ½ to ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Fresh Mint optional

Directions

  1. Place cantaloupe and ½ cup orange juice in a blender or food processor; cover and process until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl; stir in lime juice, cinnamon and remaining orange juice. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Serve with mint if desired.

Serves 6.

Prosciutto with Melon Salad and Cantaloupe Vinaigrette

Cantaloupe is often served with prosciutto, don’t let this turn you away, you can substitute with thinly sliced broiled or boiled country or even thinly sliced deli ham

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (½-inch) cubed cantaloupe
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 12 cups arugula leaves
  • 1 medium honeydew melon, peeled, seeded, and cut into 24 slices
  • 1 medium cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, and cut into 24 slices
  • 8 very thin slices prosciutto (about 4 ounces)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.
  2. Place 1½ cups arugula on each of 8 salad plates. Top each serving with 3 honeydew slices, 3 cantaloupe slices, and 1 prosciutto slice. Drizzle each serving with about 1 tablespoon dressing; sprinkle evenly with pepper.

Serves 8. Each serving contains Calories 110, Fat 4.1g, Protein 5g, Carbohydrate 15.2g, Fiber 1.1g, Cholesterol 8mg, Iron 1mg, Sodium 321mg, Calcium 61mg.