If you’re anything like me, you wish that you could enjoy cantaloupe year around, but given that it’s not always in season, that’s hard to do. This begs the question: can you freeze cantaloupe? The answer is yes! Freezing cantaloupe is a great way to store your melon and makes sure that you have access to it whenever your craving hits. So the next question is, how to freeze cantaloupe?
Keep reading to learn all there is to freezing cantaloupe, including how to pick a great cantaloupe and the processes of freezing both cubed and pureed cantaloupe.
How to Choose the Perfect Cantaloupe
When it comes to picking the right cantaloupe, it can be overwhelming, especially when you walk into your local store and see melon upon melon piled on top of each other. How do you know which cantaloupe will be ready to cut up once you get home?
Here are a few ways to tell if a cantaloupe is ripe:
- If you pick up a melon and its rind has a green hue to it, then it will need a couple more days to ripen. If the cantaloupe has a beige, pale yellow color, there is a good chance that it is ripe and ready to eat.
- Pick it up and hold it in your hand. Does it feel heavier than it looks? If so, you have an almost ripe, if not already ripe, cantaloupe in your hand.
- A ripe cantaloupe will be firm to the touch, but you don’t want it to be hard like a watermelon.
- The scent of the cantaloupe is another great way to tell if you have picked a ripe one. The melon should have a sweet, musky smell to it.
Steps For How to Freeze Cantaloupe
We all love fresh produce, but the problem is that it can spoil rather quickly, and you can’t always access it unless it’s in season. Luckily there is one sure-fire way that you can have access to your cantaloupe year around, and that is by freezing it.
Here are the steps you should follow how to freeze cantaloupe:
- The first and most important thing when you’re learning how to freeze cantaloupe is to ensure that it’s ripe, which will help preserve the sweetness of the melon.
- Wash and scrub down the outside of the cantaloupe. This will help get rid of any bacteria that might be on the rind. Rinse it under water and add a drop of mild soap, then take a sponge or brush and scrub.
- Next, take the cantaloupe and cut it in half, then take a spoon and scoop out the seeds from both halves.
- Once all the seeds are out, you now cut the cantaloupe into cubes or slices, whichever you prefer. Just make sure that they all come out around the same size so that they will freeze and eventually defrost simultaneously.
- You’ll want to cut the rind off the pieces, which can be done either before you start cutting or after, whichever you prefer.
- This next step to learning how to freeze cantaloupe is optional. However, some people do prefer to add sugar to the cut-up cantaloupe. Others, however, prefer not to add any kind of sweetener and to stick with the natural sweetness of the melon. The key is to make sure the cantaloupe is perfectly ripe before going through the freezing process.
- Now comes the time to “flash freeze” your cantaloupe, meaning you’re going to freeze the individual pieces rapidly. This is done by placing the cubes or slices of the cantaloupe on a parchment-lined cookie sheet or baking tray. Make sure that the pieces are laid out in one layer, so they aren’t touching each other. If they overlap, they won’t all freeze evenly, or they could get stuck together. This process usually takes about one to two hours, depending on your freezer.
- Take the individual pieces and place them all in an airtight container; this can either be a plastic bag or a plastic container of some sort. Then, find their long-term home in the freezer!
- Cantaloupe can last up to 10 to 12 months in the freezer, so you’ll want to make sure to label the container with the date you froze them.
How to Freeze Cantaloupe in a Puree
- You’ll want to cut the cantaloupe up, just as you would if you were freezing cubes or slices.
- Once you have your cantaloupe pieces, the next step is to stick them into either a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. To make the process easier, you can boil the cantaloupe beforehand to soften them. If you don’t have a food processor or blender, you can also mash the puree by hand.
- Pour the pureed cantaloupe into an ice-cube tray and stick them into the freezer.
- Once the individual cubes are frozen, you can take them and store them in an airtight bag or plastic container, and also find them a long-term home in the freezer!
Cantaloupe puree cubes are a great tasty way to chill iced fruit teas or a nice wine spritzer. You can also puree the cantaloupe with other kinds of melons, such as watermelon or honeydew—there are lots of cool recipes that require frozen cantaloupe puree, like this Frozen Melon With Crushed Raspberries and Lime recipe.
There is always the option to freeze the puree in larger portions than ice cubes if you choose to. You can pour the mix directly into a freezer container or a large ziplock bag, but remember to squeeze out all the air from the bag before closing it to help prevent freezer burn. You’ll also want to ensure that it is laid out evenly to freeze so that it doesn’t get squished into any weird shapes.
How to Defrost Your Frozen Cantaloupe
Now that you’re answered that pesky “can you freeze cantaloupe” and consequently, “how to freeze cantaloupe,” question, you’re all set to eat it all year long! You can eat the frozen pieces as a snack to cool down during the hot months, or you can defrost them and use them as you would a cantaloupe that you just purchased at the store.
To thaw the frozen cantaloupe, move the cantaloupe from the freezer to the fridge and let it defrost slowly. Alternatively, you can place it on the countertop and let it defrost at room temperature. Once your whole cantaloupe cubes are thawed, your options are endless: some ideas include but aren’t limited to putting them on a charcuterie board at a party, or even throwing them on the grill and adding them to a salad.
Of course, if you’re using cantaloupe puree cubes in your drinks, just plop them right in!
Can You Freeze Cantaloupe? Yes!
Learning how to freeze cantaloupe—whether in chunks or pureed— is a great way to have access to a nutritional and delicious summer fruit whenever you want. Just remember to write the date on your container to remind you when you should eat it! Next, read everything else you could ever need to know about cantaloupes.