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Jun 21, 2009 06:34 PM

Underripe cantaloupe - your suggestions, please

I just cut open a cantaloupe I was sure would be ready to eat. It was soft and fragrant at the end. Shocker: It's almost green to tan inside with very little flavor, save for that bitterness you get in underripened melons.

What should I do with it? It's already peeled and cut into wedges. I don't want to can it, so preserves or pickles are out. Is it possible to do a quick pickle on it? Or how about a Thai-inspired salad? Is there a traditional dish in some cuisine that uses this ingredient?

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  1. I'd return it to the store.

    1. if you can't return, it, brush with simple syrup & grill.

      1. Refrigerate it tonight...Return it to the store tomorrow for a refund or another Cantaloupe...

        1. Interesting question. I'd try following a green papaya or green mango salad recipe. Or even a cucumber salad. Cukes & melons are closely related, and there are some melons that are grown and used as cucumbers (Armenian, Serpent). I'll be curious to know what you do.

          P.S. If it's really bitter, don't eat it! The wild versions have bitter compounds that can make you sick, which have mostly been bred out of our cultivated varieties, but every now & then you can get a throwback.

          1. I don't really have it in me to return it, because it was on a super closeout (80 cents), and well -- I just can't. I need assertiveness training sometimes. And it's not inedible; it's just very mild.

            I ended up cutting it into smallish cubes, about 3/4 of an inch or so, and tossing it with nam pla, sugar, lemon juice (out of limes), tons of chopped fresh basil, and a good shot of sriracha.

            Holy moley, it was GREAT. I'm sure it'd be wonderful with ripe melon and no sugar, too. This is going to make regular appearances on my table in the future.

            4 Replies
            1. re: dmd_kc

              Now you know why it was on super close-out. Glad you found a way to use it. We grew up putting salt on melons (watermelon, cantaloupe) but when I lived in Paraguay, the family I lived with put sugar on watermelon. What's nam pla? In parts of Mexico fruit salad often has lemon juice and a pinch of chili powder.

              1. re: lgss

                I go to a paleteria that has an excellent, huge fruit salad with mango, pineapple, apple, cantaloupe, cucumber and strawberries, all topped with chilli powder. It's incredibly refreshing.

                1. re: lgss

                  I'm betting it was the saltiness of the nam pla that made the melon palatable. Salt not only releases the sweetness in the melon it also helps the texture.

                2. re: dmd_kc

                  Never mind, I looked up nam pla...