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I have a tough time telling if my cantaloupe is ripe (without opening it and trying it. Any suggestions?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

Cantaloupe should feel heavier than it looks and smell musky and sweet. Also you should be able to press your thumb in slightly on the bottom and there shouldn't be a lip around the stem.

If it smells over-sweet it's most likely over ripe. You can let a cantaloupe ripen on your counter top if you get one under-ripe

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@sarge: I never see anyone smell their melons when I'm at the grocery store. I sometimes get funny looks too when I'm seen doing it. Their loss. :) – hobodave Aug 10 '10 at 5:34
no kidding, my grandmother taught that to me when I was ten, and I have never had a bad melon because of it, glad I'm not the only one. – sarge_smith Aug 10 '10 at 5:37
yup, me too. I give the stem end a good hard sniff. and I am not above smelling every cantaloupe in the bin before I choose one. – daniel Aug 10 '10 at 6:06
I find it strange that most people don't inspect the produce and instead just grab whatever is big/on top. Normally its just myself and some old ladies sorting through the produce dept in search of the best melon, etc... – Manako Aug 10 '10 at 14:29
I've taught my children this. If it smells like a rock, leave it there. If it smells like a melon, go ahead and buy it. Also, if the bins of plums and nectarines don't get your attention as you walk by just from the smell of them, don't bother buying any no matter how nice they look. – Kate Gregory Feb 6 '11 at 14:52

the smell of the melon, peaches, etc. will tell you if they are ripe. the firmness of fruit will tell if overripe, however that won't work with melons. An overly sweet melon usually mean its too ripe.

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