It is exciting to buy fresh harvest cantaloupes. Sometimes, it happens that instead of buying one, you end up buying more! However, buying more than you need can be overwhelming, and it sometimes leads to spoilage.
The sad part about cantaloupes, they only have a short shelf life, and they get ripe quickly, especially if you just leave it at room temperature for a day or two. That’s why others will just put them in the refrigerator to keep it for 5-7 days. But, what if it has already stayed in your fridge for almost a week and it is not time yet for you to use it? Can you freeze the cantaloupes instead?
Yes, you can freeze your cantaloupes! Freezing cantaloupes is a good idea to preserve them, especially when you have extra melons on-hand. Before you put your cantaloupes in the freezer, you need to strip them naked and slice them into pieces. Store them in a heavy-duty freezer bag or in an airtight container before putting them in the freezer.
Call it rockmelon, sweet melon, or spanspek, this aromatic melon fruit has always been one of the highlights of the summer season. You would always look forward to grabbing a piece of this irresistibly sweet, juicy, and fleshy melony goodness during the hot season.
You can make a refreshing summer drink or dessert from cantaloupes! This sweet and fleshy summer fruit is popular for all ages, and it is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The surface of cantaloupes is fairly soft, and it can easily get punctured. This makes them prone to cuts, cracks, bruises, and mold growth.
Cantaloupes are only harvested during the warm seasons making their availability limited during the cold seasons. Frozen cantaloupes taste excellent in sorbets, ice creams, smoothies, and fruit salads, and it is understandable if you want to freeze them for the autumn and winter season.
Here is a tip: It is best to freeze your cantaloupes while still fresh to get the best of its sweetness. It is discouraged to freeze overripe cantaloupes because the texture will get mushier and just deteriorate further after you defrost them. So, freeze them before they overripen.
If properly frozen, your cantaloupe can hold its prime for about 10 to 12 months. Beyond that, it will still remain safe as well. For best quality, your freezer should constantly maintain 0°F to keep it safe.
How to Freeze Cantaloupe
Step 1: Wash the fruit
Rinse your cantaloupe thoroughly with cool water to wash away any dirt, debris, and microbes. Use your fingers or a vegetable brush to remove any filth from the wrinkled skin. Then, pat the melon dry to make it easier for you to hold and cut.
If your fresh cantaloupe has a foul odor or black soft spots, you got a rotten melon. That should be discarded immediately.
Step 2: Slice the cantaloupes
Use a heavy knife to slice your cantaloupe in half, then use a metal spoon to remove the seeds and pulp from each pitted half of the fruit. Trim the rind away from each half, then slice them to your preferred shape like bite-sized cubes or scoop the flesh out into balls.
Step 3: Transfer in a container
You can transfer your sliced cantaloupes in a heavy-duty freezer bag or in an airtight container with a cover. You may sprinkle some sugar or add some sugar syrup over the top to help preserve the color, and you will have a sweet-tasting melon flavor after it is thawed. Adding sugar is optional but expect that may have a less tasty cantaloupe after thawing it.
Step 4: Freeze it
Put them in the freezer and make sure they are safely kept away from contamination.
Another option to freeze cantaloupe is to make a puree. Pour your puree into ice cube trays, then freeze it. After freezing, remove the iced cantaloupe cubes and pack them in freezer bags.
How to Defrost Cantaloupe
When the time has come you want to defrost your frozen cantaloupe, just transfer the container from the freezer to your refrigerator. Place the frozen container on a tray to catch any of the water dripping from it. Let your cantaloupe soften in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours. You can even leave it in the refrigerator for up to two days. Just check on the cantaloupes from time to time to ensure it is defrosting properly.
To defrost your cantaloupe the quicker way, break up the frozen cubes using a spoon un-clump any stuck pieces together.
If you have added some sugar syrup into your frozen cantaloupe, you will have to stir the mixture using a spoon a day after defrosting it.
For making a cantaloupe smoothie, you don’t have to defrost it anymore! Just toss it right into the blender together with other ingredients.
Does Freezing Affect the Quality of Cantaloupe?
You have to manage your expectations once you thaw your frozen cantaloupe. You have to be aware that your melons will not have the same fresh, firm texture as before.
Freezing cantaloupes does affect flavor, color, and texture. After thawing, the texture will become softer or mushier, and the color will turn slightly darker.
How to Know if Thawed Cantaloupe is Still Okay for Consumption?
Check the smell and appearance of your cantaloupe. If there are already molds growing on the surface, discard everything. Besides that, if the thawed flesh has developed an off appearance, flavor, or odor, don’t think of saving it and just throw it away.