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A good rockmelon or cantaloupe is one of summer's delight.  The name cantaloupe relates to the town of Cantalupo in Italy, but the real cantaloupe is larger than rockmelon. 

A rockmelon on the vine is mature when the stem can be pushed from the fruit with slight pressure leaving a clean break. After picking, rockmelons continue to ripen and the best guide to perfect ripeness is probably their background skin color, which should be creamy  beige.  Too much green and it should be left to ripen for a few more days; too light  and it could be close to over-ripe.  

Smell is also helpful in judging a rock melon.  A ripe melon at room temperature should have a distinctive pungent smell. Some melons may look rotten on the outside yet will be fine inside, but it takes experience to judge this.   

Being tropical in nature, rockmelon will suffer chilling injury if store it in refrigerator for more than a day or two.  it is best to store them in a cool place outside the refrigerator except for cut pieces which should be eaten quickly.

You can cut the rockmelon into section with the central seeds removed and they are ready to eat at the end of the meal. It can be used for water ices, served with ice-cream, in fruit salads or other summer desserts. 



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