Uses for an Unripe Cantaloupe

August  3, 2013

There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: Your unripe melon isn't destined for the compost bin after all.


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Uses for an Unripe Cantaloupe, From Food52


Melons can be tricky. With no clear external cue for ripeness, it can be hard to tell when you have a perfectly ripe melon. One sign to look for is a large yellowish-brown patch where the melon was resting on the soil (this lets you know it’s been growing for awhile), and cantaloupes give off a strong sweet smell when they’re ripe. But sometimes you still slice into a melon and are met with not-quite-ripe flesh.

This week NLS was stuck with an unripe cantaloupe and turned to the Hotline for help. Here are some of our favorite ideas from the thread so far:

  • Turning it into a soup -- with mangos, or a white gazpacho with grapes and almonds.
  • Making a melon jam or chutney.
  • Using it as a thick base for a smoothie, or blending it with lime juice and honey for cantaloupe agua fresca.
  • Grilling the melon with a touch of salt to bring out its sweetness, from AniQuadros.

What are your favorite ideas for using unripe cantaloupes? Add your two cents to the question on the Hotline here or continue the conversation in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Jane
  • Diane Ebbert McMahon
    Diane Ebbert McMahon
  • Gret
  • Count Mockula
    Count Mockula
  • happymontycooks
I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.


Jane October 17, 2013
I am growing melons and the first frost is coming. With the babies, I peel them and add soy sauce and sesame oil. They are great! (a little sea salt too)!
Diane E. August 29, 2013
I hate to say it but I sprinkled some organic dehydrated cane juice on my cut up under-ripe hard melon and let it stand on the counter for an hour. it tasted great but adding sugar does seem to defeat the healthy purpose of eating fresh fruit. OH well....we grew up sugaring out melons and rhubarb that we raided from the neighbors garden and ate in our fort so our neighbors didn't see us. Getting rid of leaves and rinds was tricky though :)
Gret August 5, 2013
Sometimes can only get unripe melons. I put them outside,on a chair, in the sun for about 2 days. In the winter I put them in a sunny window. Never fails.
Count M. August 4, 2013
When I was a kid, I used to idly watch the "Green Grocer" segment on the news with my grandma. He recommended getting a cantaloupe with almost all yellow and no green between the veins. He also said it should smell like a cantaloupe at the stem end. I've never gotten an unripe one in my life.
Gret August 4, 2013
I would love to get the tip on "firmer fruit fillings", but an advertisement is covering the info about using tapioca. Can someone send the information? THANX!
Lindsay-Jean H. August 4, 2013
I'm so sorry Gret, it should go away after a few seconds, or there should be an "x" in the corner to close it. If not, and there's an IT issue, please let us know by sending an email to [email protected].
happymontycooks August 3, 2013
Ice cream/sorbet/granita. Fruit leather. And roast the seeds!
fernetaboutit August 3, 2013
Pickle it!