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Cantaloupe (also cantaloup, mushmelon, muskmelon, rockmelon or spanspek) refers to a variety of Cucumis melo, a species in the family Cucurbitaceae which includes nearly all melons and squashes. Cantaloupes range in size from 0.5 to 5.0 kilograms (1.1 to 11 lb). Originally, cantaloupe referred only to the non-netted orange-fleshed melons of Europe; however, in more recent usage it has come to mean any orange-fleshed melon (C. melo).

Cantaloupes have been linked to listeriosis illness caused by Listeria bacteria[2] that contaminated the fruit while they were being stored and sorted in cold conditions after harvest.[3] The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the link between cantaloupe Listeria contamination and human sewage sludge that may have become airborne from a nearby farm.[4]

 

Cantaloupes by region

The European cantaloupe is lightly ribbed, with a gray-green skin that looks quite different from that of the North American cantaloupe.

The North American cantaloupe, common in the United States, Mexico, and in some parts of Canada, has a net-like (or reticulated) skin covering. It is a round melon with firm, orange, moderately sweet flesh and a thin, reticulated, light-brown rind. Varieties with redder and yellower flesh exist but are not common in the U.S. market.

Origin

The cantaloupe originated in India and Africa;[5] and was first cultivated by the Egyptians, followed by the Greeks and Romans.[6]

Production and uses

Because they are descended from tropical plants, and tend to require warm temperatures throughout a relatively long growing period, cantaloupes grown in temperate climates are frequently started indoors, and grown indoors for 14 days or longer, before being transplanted outdoors.

Cantaloupes are often picked, and shipped, before fully ripening. Postharvest practices include treatment with a sodium hypochlorite wash to prevent mold growth and Salmonella growth. This treatment, because it can mask the melon’s musky aroma, can make it difficult for the purchaser to judge the relative quality of different cantaloupes.

Cantaloupe is normally eaten as a fresh fruit, as a salad, or as a dessert with ice cream or custard. Melon pieces wrapped in prosciutto are a familiar antipasto.

Because the surface of a cantaloupe can contain harmful bacteria—in particular, Salmonella [7]—it is always a good idea to wash a melon thoroughly before cutting and consumption. Only store the fruit for less than three days after cutting to prevent risk of Salmonella or other bacterial pathogens.

A moldy cantaloupe in a Peoria, Illinois market in 1941 was found to contain the best and highest quality penicillin, after a worldwide search.[8]

Nutrition

Cantaloupe melon
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 141 kJ (34 kcal)
Carbohydrates 8.16 g
– Sugars 7.86 g
– Dietary fiber 0.9 g
Fat 0.19 g
Protein 1.84 g
Water 90.15 g
Alcohol 0 mg
Caffeine 0 mg
Vitamin A equiv. 169 μg (21%)
– beta-carotene 2020 μg (19%)
Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.041 mg (4%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.019 mg (2%)
Niacin (vit. B3) 0.734 mg (5%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.105 mg (2%)
Vitamin B6 0.072 mg (6%)
Folate (vit. B9) 21 μg (5%)
Vitamin B12 0.00 μg (0%)
Vitamin C 36.7 mg (44%)
Vitamin E 0.05 mg (0%)
Vitamin K 2.5 μg (2%)
Calcium 9 mg (1%)
Iron 0.21 mg (2%)
Magnesium 12 mg (3%)
Phosphorus 15 mg (2%)
Zinc 0.18 mg (2%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Cantaloupes are a source of polyphenol antioxidants, chemicals which were thought to provide certain health benefits to the cardiovascular and immune systems by regulating the formation of nitric oxide,[citation needed] a key chemical in promoting health of the endothelium and prevention of heart attacks. However, recent research has indicated they may overcompensate, as the body already has mechanisms to deal with oxidation.[citation needed]

Cantaloupes also are an excellent source of vitamin C.

 

Written on April 18th, 2012 , Food Crops Tags:

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    Fitness commented

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    14 May 2012 at 07:05

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