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Make the Most of Mouthwatering Melons
Wednesday, August 31, 2011 • Posted August 31, 2011

Melon can quench your thirst and satisfy your sweet tooth while giving you cancer-fighting benefits. You can find melons most months of the year, but somehow they never taste as delicious and refreshing as they do during the dog days of August.Watermelon. If you’re going to eat watermelon this year, the time is now. You can choose from two delicious varieties or combine them. Red watermelon contains lycopene, the phytochemical that researchers have found may help fight prostate cancer. Yellow watermelon has far less lycopene, according to one USDA study.The USDA also recently found that uncut watermelon’s nutrients are better preserved when it is stored at room temperature. It sounds unlikely, but the study said that compared to refrigerated watermelon, unrefrigerated watermelon had twice as much beta-carotene and 20 percent more lycopene.Unrefrigerated watermelon continues to ripen when it sits on the counter, as bananas and peaches do, too. If you crave cool, refreshing watermelon on a hot summer day, put the melon you’ve left unrefrigerated in the fridge for an hour before you slice it. One cup of diced watermelon has 46 calories and is a good source source of vitamin A and lycopene.Cantaloupe. The orange color of cantaloupe means it contains a high amount of health-protecting beta-carotene. Cantaloupe is among the smaller and easier-to-cut melons. Its skin “netting” gives some traction to a knife. Netting also indicates that it is ripe, and you shouldn’t see any green on the outside.If you’re still in doubt, gently push the spot where the stem was attached – if it is slightly soft and gives off a flowery, sweet scent, the melon is ripe. One cup of diced cantaloupe has 53 calories, a good amount of potassium, and is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A.Honeydew. Light green and wonderfully sweet, honeydew melon is a good base for contrasting tastes, whether simply sprinkled with lime juice, or prepared in a salad with peppery watercress. Go by scent when you shop: a ripe honeydew smells a little like roses and has much more taste than a scentless one. A cup of diced honeydew has 61 calories, and is a good source of potassium and vitamin C.Before the summer ends, make the most of melons by eating them as a light, sweet breakfast, snack or dessert. Melons have done very well this year and there are many opportunities to find locally grown ones!

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