Friday, September 14, 2012

Locally Grown Canteloupe...Super Food for All

With summer winding down, locally grown, vine-ripened cantaloupe will only be available for a few more weeks. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy this seasonal treat and super food for all. It’s so sweet, yet contains only fifty-four calories and all the vitamins C and A needed for a day in one cup of cubes.
Melon is an excellent choice for people with diabetes, satisfying the sweet tooth with only 16 grams of carbohydrates per cup.
Cantaloupes are an ancient treat, with the first cultivated by the Egyptians and later the Greeks and Romans. Legend has it they entered the “New World” via Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in 1494. Today, the North American cantaloupe has a firm golden skin that looks like it’s wrapped in netting. Some varieties harvested in other parts of the world have smooth skin.
Purchasing melons from a local source is a smart choice. Less handling means less chance of pathogen exposure from humans. A recent recall for cantaloupe due to Salmonella contamination from a farm in Indiana makes us aware of this issue. Salmonella is found in the intestines of animals, including humans and wild animals, such as deer, livestock, pets and even birds. Heat kills salmonella, but cantaloupe is not served cooked.
Washing melon before cutting is essential. Research has shown that bacteria may be pushed into the meat of the melon when cutting. Washing with a scrub brush under running water can reduce the risk of pathogen introduction. Research hasn’t shown that produce washes are effective in killing pathogens, but they are formulated to not leave a residue on produce, so aren’t harmful.     

If you would like to preserve melon for later, try this recipe:
Melon Mint Freeze
1 cantaloupe
40 or so leaves of fresh mint
After thoroughly scrubbing melon under running water, cut it into cubes. Place melon in blender with fresh mint and blend until smooth. Pour into appropriate sized plastic container with lid. Place in freezer. Take out of freezer 30 minutes prior to eating. Scoop into bowls for a refreshing, sorbet-like treat.

Cantaloupe Smoothie
2 cups cantaloupe, cut into chunks
1 cup milk
1 ½  cups yogurt
2 – 4 tablespoons honey, or to taste
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until the mixture is smooth.

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