Cantaloupe is a popular variety of muskmelon. It is a sweet, tender, and tasty multipurpose fruit – you can use it for smoothies, salads, cooking, or merely eating fresh. It is grown all over the world but it’s most popular in China and the Middle East.
However, just like cucumber, cantaloupe grows mainly during warmer seasons. This means it’s not always available all year round.
If you miss your cantaloupe in the winter and want to eat it all year round, then don’t fret. You can simply preserve cantaloupe by freezing. Yes, you can freeze cantaloupe!
What Happens If You Freeze Cantaloupe?
Freezing cantaloupe helps you preserve it. As mentioned earlier, you can’t readily have access to cantaloupe throughout the year, because it’s a warm-weather crop. So, you can preserve it by freezing to make the fruit accessible for you all through the year.
However, the downside to freezing cantaloupe is that it affects its
- and color.
Freezing makes your cantaloupe darker and makes the texture softer.
However, cantaloupe that has been frozen can still make it delicious. It just won’t be exactly the same.
How To Freeze Cantaloupe
There are two different ways to freeze cantaloupe, and which method you choose will depend on what you want to use the fruit for. We’ll take you through the two methods and the steps involved in each.
First of all, we should mention the FDA recommends thoroughly washing and scrubbing the rinds of all cantaloupes and melons prior to cutting and slicing, and keeping sliced melons refrigerated prior to eating because of the slight risk of salmonella.
Method 1 – Freeze pieces
This method is suitable if you want to use cantaloupe for cooking, eating, or eating it as a solid piece of fruit. The steps involved are:
Step 1: Cut it
Cut the cantaloupe into two and remove the seeds from its midst.
Step 2: Remove the rind
Remove the cantaloupe’s rind by using a knife.
Step 3: Put it on a tray
Get a tray and put a sheet of wax paper on it. Cut the flesh of the fruit into pieces, and put them on the tray.
Step 4: Maintain color and flavor
Add some sugar to the cantaloupe. This helps to maintain the color and flavors.
Step 5: Put in the freezer
Put the tray in a freezer for 2-3 hours.
Step 6: Tranfer the fruit
Remove the tray once the fruit is frozen, and then put the fruit in a freezer bag or airtight container.
Step 7: Extract air in bags
If using a freezer bag, extract as much air as possible before sealing the bag tight. If using an airtight container, seal the lid on it very well.
Step 8: Lable it
Label or date the container or bag and put it inside the freezer. Use within 12 months.
Method 2 – Freezing with ice cube trays
This method is appropriate if you want to use cantaloupe to make smoothies or drinks. The steps are:
Step 1: Cut it
Cut the cantaloupe into two and remove the seeds.
Step 2: Remove rind
Remove the cantaloupe’s rind by using a knife.
Step 3: Blend it
Put all the fruit in a blender and blend it to smooth.
Step 4: Put in ice cube trays
Pour out the blended product into each slot in an ice cube tray.
Step 5: Put in freezer
Put the ice cube tray in the freezer for 2-3 hours.
Step 6: Transfer to bags
Remove it from the freezer when it’s frozen, then empty the ice cubes into a freezer bag.
Step 7: Extract air
Extract as much air as possible from the bag and seal the bag tight.
Step 8: Label it
Label and date it before putting it into a freezer. Use within 12 months.
How Long Can You Freeze Cantaloupe?
If you properly freeze cantaloupe, it can last up to twelve months. If it stays longer than that in the freezer, the quality would begin to reduce due to freezer burn. It is not advised to freeze cantaloupe beyond twelve months.
How To Defrost Cantaloupe?
There are different methods you can use to defrost cantaloupe. These methods are:
Defrosting in The Refrigerator
Remove the cantaloupe from the freezer and put it in a fridge for around 6 to 8 hours. Put the cantaloupes preferably in a bowl to prevent running off the water in the fridge. This method takes time but it is the best method of defrosting cantaloupe.
The cantaloupe shouldn’t spend more than 3 days in the fridge after being defrosted.
Defrosting In The Microwave
To defrost by microwave, cover your microwave plate with a paper towel. Gently put your cantaloupe in the microwave and start defrosting. Defrost for at least two minutes and check intermittently after each minute so that you won’t over-defrost cantaloupe.
The downside of using a microwave is that your cantaloupe will look quite mushy and this method also needs close supervision.
Defrosting By Using Cold Water
You can also defrost cantaloupe by putting the container or freezer bag on a plate or in a bowl. Put the bowl in a sink and ensure cold water is running over the bag. It will help thaw the melon faster.
As pointed out earlier, the best way to defrost cantaloupe (and melons generally) is by thawing it in the fridge.
Can You Refreeze Cantaloupe?
You’re most likely curious to know if you can refreeze cantaloupe, Right? Well, if you’ve defrosted it, you can refreeze your cantaloupe.
However, this isn’t advisable.
Refreezing cantaloupe would affect its texture, taste, and general quality.
Tips For Freezing Cantaloupes
When you’re freezing cantaloupes, always do take these tips into consideration:
- Freeze only fresh melons. If the melon is decayed, freezing it won’t properly preserve it.
- Remove any soggy or soft parts of the cantaloupe before putting it into the freezer. Soft parts don’t freeze well and are susceptible to accommodating bacteria.
- Ensure the cantaloupe is ripe. You can ascertain this by smelling the exterior of the cantaloupe. If it has a sweet and fragrant smell, then it’s ripe; but if it has a putrid odor, then it’s unripe.
- Don’t freeze overripe cantaloupe because the mushy texture will get worse when defrosted.
- You can use plastic wrap if you don’t have wax paper.
- If sweetening your melon with sugar, don’t use more than approximately 200g of granulated sugar per 200g of cantaloupe cube.
- If you intend to use the cantaloupe for a smoothie, dessert, or cocktail, you can immerse the cantaloupe cubes with simple syrup.
- Keep the cantaloupe in the freezer for ten to twelve months. Anything beyond that isn’t advisable.
What To Do With Frozen Cantaloupe
Cantaloupe is a multi-purpose melon. You can use frozen cantaloupe just the same way as the unfrozen one. These are some mouth-watering recipes you can use cantaloupe for including:
- Rainbow fruit salad
- Cantaloupe cucumber salad with fresh or frozen goat cheese.
- Cantaloupe granita
- Cantaloupe salsa
- Carrot cantaloupe juice
- Cantaloupe risotto
- Strawberry cantaloupe smoothie
- Jello shots. (Check this posts on freezing jello shots if you are interested)
How Long Does Cantaloupe Last Once Defrost?
Generally, you can keep cantaloupe in the freezer for up to twelve months. But once you defrost it, keep it in the refrigerator and consume it within three days.
Is Frozen Cantaloupe Safe For Dogs To Eat?
Yes! Frozen cantaloupe, just like the unfrozen one, is 100% safe for dogs to eat. Feed your dog with it and see your dog’s tail wag. BUT do ensure you remove the seeds or rinds of the melons before giving them to your dog. Or your dog will get a bad tummy ache.
How Do You Know If Frozen Cantaloupe Has Spoilt?
Generally, foods properly put in the freezer are safe to eat. However, you may need to determine if that frozen cantaloupe is spoiled by firstly examining the texture. Check if there is any freezer burn. Also, use the sniff test and use your common sense.
If you’re still not sure, you can taste the cantaloupe to know whether or not it is spoiled.
This might also be interesting: Can you freeze mint leaves?
You now know that even though cantaloupe is a fruit not available all year round, by freezing it, you can preserve it to cater for the days it’ll be unavailable.
We’ve also highlighted how you can freeze cantaloupe, the defrosting methods, the duration for freezing, different recipes you can make with cantaloupe, etc.
Have you ever frozen cantaloupe before? What are some experiences you have learned (if any)? Or perhaps you have any more tips on freezing cantaloupe?
You can share these in the comment section below!