Making the Best of a Bad Melon

Post by: Kim

All innuendos and teenage humor aside, I want to discuss bad melons.  The cantaloupes I’ve encountered this summer have left me craving the sweet Chanterais melon we picked up at an outdoor market in Paris on our honeymoon last summer.  After much debate about how to eat it, we brought the little fruit up to our hotel room for an afternoon snack, awkwardly went at the thing with a plastic knife, and slurped away at the juicy, misshapen slices.  A year later back in Brooklyn, my attempts at tracking down some decent fruit outside of the farmers market have been disappointing; the green grocer specimens are either hard and off-tasting, or half rotten inside.  As with most supermarket-variety cantaloupe, I’ve found that the flesh turns mealy by the time the fruit has developed a good flavor.  So what does one do with a mushy melon?  The cantaloupes that I’ve been dealing with do not belong in a fruit salad, my friends.  


This granita is based on a recipe featured in the September 2009 issue of Gourmet.  It’s incredibly simple, a concoction of cantaloupe, lemon, and sugar that’s blended into something akin to a melted Creamsicle, poured into a baking dish, frozen, and scraped into fluffy mounds.  While the Gourmet version calls for Sherry, I substituted a little bit of cream which helps produce a finer, less icy texture and makes this a kid-friendly affair.  Unless you have a really good melon, let your fruit stand for a couple of days to insure that it is fully ripe since texture is not really an issue here.  Or if you are slightly more adventurous and willing to live with a cantaloupe-scented car trunk, you can experiment with John Edge’s method for ripening melons, revisited on a recent EpiLog post.  


Cantaloupe and Cream Granita

Adapted from Gourmet’s Cantaloupe and Cream Sherry Granita

1 medium to large cantaloupe

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/8 cup heavy cream

Pinch salt

Cut the melon in half and remove the seeds.  Working in batches, scoop out the flesh of the melon into a blender and puree until smooth.  Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender to the same effect. 

In a large bowl, combine the liquefied cantaloupe, lemon juice, and cream.  Add the sugar and salt and whisk vigorously until the sugar has dissolved.  The melon should be at room temperature. You may need to add another tablespoon or so of sugar depending on the sweetness of your fruit.    

Pour the mixture into a large glass baking dish and let it freeze for about an hour.  When the mixture begins to solidify stir and break up any clumps with a fork.  Continue to stir and mash every half an hour or so until the granita is fully solidified.

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