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Knife Skills: How to Cut a Cantaloupe

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If I wasn't allergic to cantaloupes, I'd live on them. Sweet, juicy and musky, with an almost squash-like aroma (makes sense—they are closely related to pumpkins and squashes), they make the perfect appetizer or dessert for a simple summer meal. As it is, I can only pass on my endorsement and grab sneaky tastes here and there with my epinephrine shot in my back pocket just in case.

Please enjoy this summer's melons for me!

Shopping and Storage

Cantaloupes and other melons are amongst the group of fruits that do not continue to ripen once they are removed from the vine, so when buying a melon, make sure that it's good—it ain't getting any better at home!

Here's what to look for:

Melons have the best, most fully developed flavor when served at room temperature, but once you've peeled and cut it, keep it in an airtight container in the fridge to avoid spoilage or excess moisture loss. It'll stay good for at least a day.

Food Safety

Surprisingly, cantaloupes and other net-skinned melons are one of the leading sources of salmonella poisoning. The bacteria get into the bumpy skin, then form something called a polymer biofilm,* making them almost impossible to get back out with regular washing—even bleach doesn't kill them. In fact, the only way to destroy the bacteria is to heat treat the cantaloupe, which also has the unwelcome side-effect of destroying the cantaloupe. So, what should you do?

* Kinda like the goop that aliens trap you with before the facehuggers come.

** Completely made up statistic, but small chance nonetheless

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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