How to Select Cantaloupe
Select a melon that’s heavy for its size. It should smell flowery and slightly musky—hence its true name, muskmelon. Avoid any that have soft spots or bruises. To check for ripeness, the rind of the fruit should yield slightly with gentle pressure, but do not press so hard that you bruise it while checking.
Look for cantaloupes without a vine stem attached. When a cantaloupe is ripe, the stem will easily come off the fruit. If there is still a stem attached to your melon, it typically means it was picked before it was ripe.
Cantaloupes do not continue to ripen once they have been picked, but they do soften when left at room temperature for a few days.
How to Store Cantaloupe
A cantaloupe that is still quite firm can be stored at room temperature for about two days. Once ripened, refrigerate the whole melon for up to five days. Once cut, store in a clean, airtight container and enjoy within three days.
How to Freeze Cantaloupe
Cantaloupes tend to lose their firm texture if you thaw them after freezing, so it’s recommended to only use frozen cantaloupe in drinks or smoothies.
To freeze cantaloupe, wash the whole melon well with water. Cut away the rind to cut into cubes, or use a melon baller. Flash freeze by spreading on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, then transfer to an airtight bag and try to remove as much air as you can with a vacuum sealer or a straw. Keep frozen and use within 12 months.
You can also puree cantaloupe (especially if it’s a little overripe) and freeze in ice cube trays, then transfer to an airtight bag to use in sauces, smoothies, etc.