Their peak season in North America being between April through August each year. However they can commonly be found throughout most of the year. To pick the perfect melon, there’s no need to worry about its weight or size or by tapping on the rind. Check the outside for soft spots, indentations, cracks, bruises and and moldy patches. Once you’re all clear, you can move on to the next step.
Check the color
You want a melon that is light in color and not too green. Beige is the way to go when it comes to cantaloupe. Pay close attention to the colors between the webbed portion of the cantaloupe. If it’s still green it’s not ripe, it was picked too soon. If you’re looking to eat it right away, try to avoid any tones of green in the rind that’s a sign that the fruit is not yet ripe.
The way to make sure a cantaloupe is sweet and ripe is by examining the indentation left by the stem. The stem scar should look like an innie belly button – the deeper the indentation, the better. A ripe melon will naturally detach its stem. Any bit of a stem attached means that the farmer cut off the melon too soon.
Compare a few melons
A good cantaloupe should feel heavy. Compare the weight of cantaloupes. Pick up more than one and take the one that is the heaviest. Weight means it has a better sugar and water content, which usually means a richer and sweeter fruit. The general rule of thumb is: the heavier, the better.
How does the cantaloupe smell? If it’s ripe, it should give off a subtle warm, sweet smell. If the cantaloupe has a very strong smell, then it might just be a little too ripe and that’s definitely not the one you want.
Listen to the sound
You can also give the melon a light rapping on the rind with the palm of your hand. Listen to the sound of canalupe. If it sounds like it echoed or sounded a little hollow, then that’s a good sign. Any strange sounds likely mean that there’s something wrong with the inside.
Of course this isn’t something you can do in the grocery store or at the market, but clearly the best way to tell if a cantaloupe is at its freshest is by tasting it. Always thoroughly wash the cantaloupe before cutting it – the skin can contain bacteria considered harmful.