freeze cantaloupe

Can You Refrigerate and Freeze Cantaloupe?

Juicy and refreshing, cantaloupe is often underrated compared to other fruits. Cantaloupe is packed with nutrients. It is exceptionally high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate, and fiber.

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Cantaloupe (also known as rockmelon, muskmelon and sweet melon) is in season during summer. At certain times, they can be a little pricey. If you are a big fan of this orange-fleshed fruit, why don’t you try freezing cantaloupe?

Perhaps, your home garden yields too many cantaloupes to enjoy right away. Freezing is definitely an option to preserve its shelf life. This way, rest assured you can enjoy cantaloupes throughout the year.

Keep on reading to find out the most practical details about freezing cantaloupe and related topics.

Preparing Cantaloupe for Freezing

You can freeze cantaloupe as is or in a syrup pack. Let’s start off with how to prepare cantaloupes for freezing.

1. Selecting ripe cantaloupes

You should harvest melons at their ‘full slip”, that is when the stem easily separates with the fruits. At this point, you can pick cantaloupes with little or no pulling.

If you buy whole melons at the supermarket, choose one with a sweet, musky smell, has a rind resembling raised netting, and has a stem that yields slightly when pressured with your thumb. 

Don’t take the fruit if it has cuts, bruises, foul odors, or other defects.

Sometimes you pick underripe cantaloupes. Don’t worry. You can still ripen them once they are off the vines. To ripen cantaloupe, you can easily place it inside a brown bag.

For an accelerated ripening, consider placing a ripe banana or apple in the bag. Leave the bag at room temperature for a day or two until the cantaloupe ripens.

Avoid freezing overripe cantaloupe as it tends to get mushy after freezing.

2. Washing cantaloupes before preparing or eating

Contrary to popular belief, you still need to wash fruits with inedible skin to remove any dirt and harmful bacteria. Otherwise, the bacteria can transfer into the flesh when you cut the fruit. Wash the fruits shortly before using them. (*)

Wash cantaloupe under running water and scrub with your hand or a brush. Don’t use dish soap or detergent that isn’t food grade.

After washing, dry the fruit with a clean kitchen towel and remove excess water.

3. Cutting the cantaloupe

Place the cantaloupe on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut the cantaloupe in half and scoop out the seeds.

You can continue cutting the cantaloupe according to your preference; into slices, balls, cubes, or bite-size chunks.


How To Freeze Cantaloupe As Is (Unsweetened Pack)

This method also applies to other fruits, such as blueberries and cherries. It’s easy and doesn’t require other ingredients.

1. Prep the cantaloupe following the steps above (select, wash, and cut it).

2. Pack the cuts into a freezer bag or freezer-safe container.

3. Squeeze as much air as possible (if using a freezer bag).

4. Seal the bag tightly.

5. Label the bag with the freezing date.

6. Leave it in the freezer.

You can also flash-freeze the cantaloupe before long term freezing. This step is optional but can prevent the slices from sticking to each other during freezing since the water content is relatively high.

To flash-freeze cantaloupe cuts, start with lining a parchment paper on a baking sheet. Spread the fruits evenly in a single layer. Freeze for around 30 minutes, enough to solidify the juice. After that, transfer them into a freezer bag and store in the freezer for the long-term.

Check your freezer once occasionally. Make sure to set the temperature to 0 °F (−18 °C) or lower.


How To Freeze Cantaloupe In Syrup

1. Prepare the cantaloupe by following the steps above (select, wash, and cut it).

2. Prepare the syrup by adding 2 cups of sugar to 4 cups of water. Mix the solution until all the sugar dissolves in the water. Add one teaspoon of lemon juice for each cup of syrup for flavoring (optional).

3. Transfer the cantaloupe slices into a freezer-safe container.

4. Cover them with the syrup.

5. Leave ½ to 1 inch of headspace on top of the container to allow for expansion during freezing.

6. Seal the container.

7. Label with a freezing date.

8. Store in the freezer for later use.


How To Freeze Cantaloupe In Sugar Pack

1. Prepare the cantaloupe by following the steps above (select, wash, and cut it).

2. Place the cantaloupe slices in a bowl and add with sugar. Add approximately 2 ¼ cups of sugar for every 5 pounds of cantaloupe. (*)

3. Let them stand for a few minutes and mix gently.

4. Transfer the mixture into a freezer bag or freezer-safe container.

5. Leave ½ inch headspace.

6. Seal the container tightly and label it with a freezing date.

7. Store it in the freezer.


How To Use Frozen Cantaloupe

Basically, you can use frozen cantaloupe similarly to the fresh one. However, the texture and flavor may change after thawing. It means that the cantaloupe won’t be as firm as the fresh one.

There are plenty of ways to use frozen cantaloupe, such as:

–   enjoy it as a snack on its own

–   mix into smoothies, milkshakes, or cocktails

–   make into a refreshing fruit salad with drizzles of balsamic vinegar

–   use it for cold desserts, sorbet, or ice cream

–   cook into roasted or grilled cantaloupe


How To Defrost Frozen Cantaloupe

You can safely defrost frozen cantaloupes in the refrigerator or under running water. Thaw an adequate amount for your recipe.

Suppose you want to use frozen cantaloupe for a cooking recipe. In that case, microwave thawing is also possible (especially if you’re short in time).

How Long Can You Freeze Cantaloupe?

Freezing significantly extends the shelf life of cantaloupes. If kept refrigerated, cantaloupe only stays fresh for 5 to 10 days.

Meanwhile, freezing extends the shelf life up to 12 months. After this, the fruit may start to show changes in texture and flavor, not to mention the risk of freezer burn after prolonged freezing. (*)


FAQs

How do you preserve cantaloupe for the long term?

Freezing is suitable for preserving cantaloupe for long term storage. Home canning and drying are less preferable.

What can I do with underripe cantaloupe?

Underripe cantaloupe is lacking in flavor and sweetness. But, you can still use it to make delicious dishes or beverages. Turn it into soup, gazpacho, or smoothies.

Better yet, you can ripen it at home. Place it inside a brown bag with ripe avocado and keep it at room temperature. Open the bag after a day or two to check if it has ripened enough. Be careful because it can go from ripe to overripe very quickly.

Will a cantaloupe ripen in the fridge?

Cantaloupe will not ripen after it’s cut and placed in the refrigerator.

Summary

Freezing cantaloupe is definitely a way to salvage your harvest. You can freeze cantaloupe as is, in syrup, or sugar. With proper freezing, cantaloupe can stay fresh up to 12 months.

Frozen cantaloupe may lose its firm texture after thawing. But, it works great for preparing cold beverages and cooked dishes. Now that you know how to freeze cantaloupe, there is no reason to waste this nutritious fruit!

Up next: How to Freeze Blueberries

frozen cantaloupe

*Image by depositphotos.com/AndreySt

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