Cantaloupe is one of the most popular fruits. Its strong rind protects it and makes it much more durable than soft fruit like raspberries.
Those qualities and its distinctive sweet taste make it standby in many home kitchens. Because of its ubiquitousness questions abound about the fruit. How do you know when cantaloupe is bad?
The first sign of bad cantaloupe is moldy spots. If the cantaloupe is not moldy but has large discolored areas, it is also bad. In addition to that, the cantaloupe will also feel soft and may feel hollow. Generally speaking, it is best to throw out any cantaloupe that feels soft and mushy.
How to Tell When Cantaloupe is Ripe
Many people who have never tasted good, ripe cantaloupe think the fruit is bland and tasteless.
But if you know what signs to look for, you don’t have to settle for bland cantaloupe.
A ripe cantaloupe will be mostly firm with just a little give when pressed at the place where the stem fell was at the end of the oblong fruit. It will have a sweet musky smell and when you shake it, you should just barely be able to hear some of the seeds moving in the center of the melon.
What Does Spoiled Cantaloupe Taste Like?
The best way to determine whether or not a cantaloupe has spoiled is to know what good cantaloupe should test like.
Ripe cantaloupe, also known as musk melon or a rock melon, should have a distinctly sweet flavor and pleasing consistency.
Spoiled melon will often have an off sour or unpleasant bitter taste. The texture of the fruit will be soft, mushy, and mealy.
Small mold spots can be removed by simply cutting them away.
You should always wash your knife after you cut away mold spots before moving on and cutting the rest of the cantaloupe.
The larger the mold spot is, the more likely the flavor of the rest of the melon will be affected by the mold.
What Does the Inside of a Bad Cantaloupe Look Like?
When you cut a healthy ripe cantaloupe in half you will see a well of seeds surrounded by a ring of a distinct kind of orange.
The seeds will be in a mesh-like bed in the center well of the melon.
Any color other than orange, is sign that the cantaloupe is bad. If the color is green, the cantaloupe is likely very under-ripe. Any black spots on the melon’s flesh are more than likely mold that has come into the fruit through the skin.
These moldy spots should be carefully removed.
Sometimes, part of the cantaloupe, especially near the stem can be white if the melon is under-ripe.
The parts aren’t necessarily bad for you, but they will not taste like good, ripe cantaloupe.
What Do the White Spots in Cantaloupe Mean
Occasionally a ripe cantaloup will have white spots in the orange flesh. These kinds of white spots are usually an indication of mold and are usually a sign that the melon should not be eaten.
You will not necessarily get sick if you eat a very small amount mold.
If there are only one or two white spots of mold on the cantaloupe, you will be perfectly safe cutting away the mold, washing your knife and eating the rest. If the melon shows any other signs of spoilage, it is best to discard the fruit.
Questions on Storing Cantaloupe
If your cantaloupe is not yet ripe, leave it out on the counter a few days to let it ripen. Enclosing the melon in a paper bag can help it ripen a little bit faster.
It is also important to remember to wash the melon before cutting it up.
\While the rind is not edible, it will have bacteria or dirt on it and washing it will keep most of it off the fruit that you do it.
How Long Does Whole Cantaloupe Last?
Factors that impact how long a whole cantaloupe can last are the temperature where it is being stored, how ripe the cantaloupe was when it was purchased and what other fruit are in proximity to the melon.
In the summertime, when temperatures are higher, cantaloupe will ripen faster.
Cantaloupes are also more likely to picked when they are already ripe in the summertime and can be picked closer to most grocery eliminating the need for long travel times.
Some fruit, like apples will emit a gas called ethylene as they ripen. Ethylene gas will cause other fruit near it to ripen more quickly.
Bearing those factors in mind, whole cantaloupe can typically last on a countertop for three to five days. If stored in a refrigerator, cantaloupe can last much longer, up to three weeks.
When storing cantaloupe in the refrigerator, it is to keep it in a sealable bag or plastic wrap in order to contain the unique smell of cantaloupe and to keep everything else in your fridge from smelling and tasting like cantaloupe.
How Long Does Cantaloupe Last After It Is Cut Up?
Once cantaloupe has been cut up, it can no longer ripen, so make sure the cantaloupe is perfectly ripe before cutting it up.
Also, cutting anything exposes to bacteria and mold spores in the air, on your knife or cutting board, on your hands or anything else it touches.
This greatly reduces the amount of time you can store cut cantaloupe before it goes bad.
Cut cantaloupe should only be left out on the countertop at room temperature for two to three hours but will in the fridge for two to three days.
How Long Does Cantaloupe Last in the Fridge?
Keeping fruit at a lower temperature as in the fridge will slow down the ripening process that leads to spoilage.
If you’re fruit is ripe, but you don’t plan on eating it right away, it’s best to keep it in the fridge until you are ready to eat it.
A whole cantaloupe can last in a fridge at least two weeks and up three weeks. Cut cantaloupe should only be kept about two to three days.
How long does cantaloupe last in the fridge?
A great way to store cantaloupe is to puree it in a blender. If it is under ripe or just slightly over ripe, pureed cantaloupe can be a great addition to smoothies, fruit drinks or even some cocktails.
Whole and cut cantaloupe should never be frozen. Freezing will break down the cellular structure of the fruit to mush and make it in edible.
However, pureed cantaloupe is excellent frozen and can be frozen as ice cubes or in zip top bags to be added to smoothies.
Stored in an airtight container, frozen cantaloupe can still be delicious six months after freezing.
How Long Does Cantaloupe Last on the Counter?
Whole cantaloupe can stay fresh and tasty for three to five days on a countertop while cut or pureed cantaloupe should only be left on the counter for two to three hours.
See our handy reference chart below for more information on how long cantaloupe in various forms can be stored.
|Puree||Refrigerator||Up to 6 months|
How Long Does it Take for Cantaloupe to go Bad?
While there are many factors that can have an effect on how long it will take a cantaloupe to go bad, it will usually take an unrefrigerated whole cantaloupe three to five days, and an unrefrigerated cut cantaloupe about two to three hours to go bad. In the refrigerator whole cantaloupe can take three weeks to go bad while cut cantaloupe will need about three days.
If your cantaloupe was very unripe when you bought it or if you keep your home very cool cantaloupe will last longer.
Of course, the converse to both of these factors is true as well.
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Can Overripe Cantaloupe Make Sick?
In 2011, Time magazine reported that 72 people in 18 states were infected with listeria from cantaloupes grown on a single farm in Colorado.
Listeria can sometimes be carried on the outer rind of the melon and a thorough washing will typically get ride of any risk of infection.
There is an important distinction between getting sick from a bacteria like listeria and getting sick from a ripe cantaloupe.
Listeria and other bugs live on the skin of the melon and are introduced to the fruit when the skin or rind is not properly cleaned.
If the cantaloupe is properly cleaned, and stored, and the only concern is eating an overripe cantaloupe then you cannot get seriously sick.
The taste and texture of the fruit will be off putting and will hopefully deter most people from eating too much of it, but outside of a bad taste in the mouth and possibly a slightly upset stomach, over ripe cantaloupe does not pose a serious health threat.
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a stay-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. Prior to becoming a mom, I had a successful career in the accounting field, steps away from becoming a CPA. I decided to give up on my career in order to raise my own kids (as opposed to letting a nanny do it, no judgment here :)) I learned a lot and I love sharing it with other moms. Along the way, I also became a Certified Food Handler.