Cantaloupes are of European origin. The European melon has a warty rind and scented, yellow flesh. It is not exported. North America cantaloupe is actually a muskmelon and features raised, netted skin and sweet, orange flesh. They are available June to November.
Cantaloupes picked before they mature never reach full flavor. A good melon is symmetrical and the blossom end gives with slight pressure. Avoid overripe melons with lumps or soft spots. Cantaloupes become more yellow as they ripen. Store ripe in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Slice cantaloupe in half. Scrape out seeds. Cantaloupe halves may be eaten with a spoon. Cantaloupe is so sweet it goes well with salty meats such as prosciutto.