July 19, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo
Summer is the perfect season for so many reasons. School is out, meaning kids and parents can take a break from the daily homework grind. Pools, and sprinklers for us city folk, provide a fun reprieve from the sun’s melting rays. The best part, by far, though, is the sight of all my family’s favorite foods coming into season at the farmers’ market.
This weekend, we bought our first melon of the season. The honeydew was fragrant, and as the juices dripped her chin, my oldest daughter asked when it would be cantaloupe’s turn. I explained it just so happened the farm stand we visited didn’t have any, but rest assured they’re available now too. If you’re not near a local farm stand or farmers’ market, find comfort knowing that the melons in most supermarkets right now are being grown in the U.S., and they’re probably on sale too since it’s peak season.
Thankfully my girls have always adored fruit, and they hold a special place in their taste buds for cantaloupe. Like their father, it runs a pretty tight tie with watermelon for their all-time favorite fruit. That’s good news for me since cantaloupe is an excellent source of Vitamin A due to the beta-carotene naturally packed into every bite of its fragrant orange interior. Need more reason to get more cantaloupe into your kids’ diet? It also boasts a good amount of Vitamin C, folate and dietary fiber.
Wondering when your baby can start enjoying cantaloupe? Around eight months of age is a good time to start introducing melon into her diet. As with any new food, be sure to introduce one type of melon at a time, and check with your pediatrician if you have any history of food allergies.
Cut up into chunks or generous-sized wedges are the easiest way to serve it, and our favorite way to eat it too. If you’re looking to get more creative, take a look at these cantaloupe inspired recipes from a few of our favorite food blogs.
Tip Top Melon Sherbet from 101 Cookbooks
Cantaloupe Salsa from Smitten Kitchen
Cantaloupe & Orange Lassi from Food 52