Cantaloupe Craze

Few flavors capture summer better than that of refreshing cantaloupe. Its fragrance alone makes us swoon. What’s more, cantaloupe is good for you. Not only is it low calorie, low fat and full of antioxidant flavonoids, melons are full of water—an important consideration during Utah’s sweltering heat. If you need more reasons to indulge in this seasonal fave, the following recipes should do the trick.

Summertime Cantaloupe Soup 

To make this adaptation of chef Ryan Lowder’s Cantaloupe Gazpacho, begin with Utah cantaloupes. “Green River melons are so good,” he says. Purée 1 medium cantaloupe (peeled, seeded, chopped), 1 small cucumber (peeled, chopped), 2 tablespoons chopped red onion and 1/3 cup water in a blender until smooth. With motor running, drizzle in 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve chilled, topped with thinly sliced fresh mint. 

Any Way You Slice It

Cantaloupe with Honeyed Blueberries

Peel, seed and cut melon into 8 crescents. Mix 1 Tbsp. lemon juice with 2 Tbsp. honey and a pinch of cinnamon. Gently toss dressing with blueberries and spoon mixture over each melon wedge. Sprinkle with chopped mint. 

Cantaloupe with Strawberry Gelato, Coarse Salt and Black Pepper

Peel, seed and cut melon into 8 crescents. Using a melon baller, place scoops of strawberry gelato on each melon wedge. Top with a grind of black pepper and a pinch of sea salt. 

Cantaloupe with Chili and Lime Salt

Peel, seed and cut melon into 8 crescents. Process juice and zest of one lime with 1 Tbsp. kosher salt in food processor. Sprinkle melon slices with pure ground chile (not a chile powder blend)—about 1 Tbsp. per whole melon. Sprinkle melon wedges with lime salt and garnish with lime wedges. 

Cantaloupe with Prosciutto and Basil

Peel, seed and cut melon into 8 crescents. Top each one with two slices of thinly cut prosciutto and garnish with basil sprigs.

Picking Pointers

To select ripe cantaloupes, choose ones that smell sweet and give slightly to pressure. No fragrance signals no flavor. Avoid melons that slosh when you shake them and favor a slight green tinge. While melons don’t ripen once they are picked, they do soften. Once cut, wrap cantaloupe tightly in plastic wrapping or store in a sealed container; keep for up to three days.

Utah Fresh

Nearly every melon sold in Utah is labeled “Green River,” whether it’s grown in Utah or Mexico. You want Utah melons, so check your source. Green River in Emery County boasts the perfect combination of arid, sunny days and cool summer nights for growing sweet, juicy melons—cantaloupes, watermelons, Crenshaws and more. The season begins midsummer and lasts into September, when Green River holds its annual Melon Days Festival on Sept. 17-18.

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Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Malouf is the late Executive Editor of Salt Lake magazine and Utah's expert on local food and dining. She still does not, however, know how to make a decent cup of coffee.

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