Chef Dez on Cooking: Melons and summer go hand-in-mouth

A favourite food to help fight summer heat is chilled slices of melon.

Kids with watermelon juices running down their chins as they submerge their appetites into the cold juicy flesh is a sure sight at almost any outdoor activity.

Although watermelons are the most popular suppressor of scorching temperatures, many also choose cantaloupe, honeydew, or casaba melons to fulfill this activity.

Casaba melons are similar in size and shape to cantaloupes and honeydews, but are recognizable by their wrinkled yellow skin. They are not smooth like honeydews, nor do they have a netted shell like cantaloupes.

The sweet flesh of the casaba can be white, yellow or orange, but it is not as sweet as honeydew, and not as aromatic as cantaloupe.

As a summertime snack, melons have a high water content to replenish overheated bodies, along with a low calorie count.

One diced cup of any of the four varieties mentioned will account for about 45-65 calories.

Honeydew has the most calories, because of higher sugar content, and watermelon, with the highest water content, has the least calories.

Though each of the four melons have their own nutritional attributes, cantaloupes seem to be the most nutritious of the group.

Cantaloupes have an extremely high amount of vitamin A (approximately 5411 IU per cup), while watermelon offers 865 IU, honeydew only 85 IU, and casabas usually don’t have any.

Vitamin A is typically found in abundance in darker-coloured fruits and vegetables, and helps to promote the maintenance and growth of healthy skin and hair.

It is also necessary for proper development of teeth and bones.

Cantaloupes also have the highest vitamin C content (twice that of honeydews), and is highest in potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.

No matter what melons you decide upon, a melon baller will assist in creating a great presentation in your next fruit salad, or as frozen balls of fruit in a summer drink.

Garnish your creations with some chilled local fresh berries, and you will have a delicious low-fat snack to help combat the summer heat.

Dear Chef Dez

Someone told me that the outsides of cantaloupes should be washed before we eat them, due to bacteria and salmonella poisoning. If so, why, since we just eat the insides and not the skin?

Norma B., Langley

Dear Norma,

It is true. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), cantaloupes are grown at ground level and their outer skin can become contaminated in the field by soil, contaminated water, wildlife, poor handling, or improperly composted manure.

When we cut into melons, any bacteria on the outer skin can easily be transferred not only to your knife, cutting board, and serving plate, but also to the inner flesh.

The CFIA recommends, as a precaution, that before cutting fresh cantaloupes, to thoroughly wash and scrub them with hot water, using a clean produce brush.

As further safety measures, it would be wise to wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling cantaloupes, as well as the equipment used to prepare them.

It is always better to be safe than sorry, and if they recommend this for cantaloupes, then I would assume these safety measures with all melons.

Just Posted

Kodiaks dominate spring season

Seven lopsided wins in a row for the 2018 provincial midget champions

Survey finds SkyTrain extension has 85 per cent support in Surrey, Langley

TransLink says there has been record-level response in public engagement about the project

Public invited to Alzheimer walk in Langley

A Langley seniors complex and a North Langley business group have teamed… Continue reading

OPP looking for suspect after Best Buy credit-card fraud in Surrey

Ontario Provincial Police believe suspect has links to Surrey and Langley

Aldergrove shoppers watch Safeway shelves ‘go empty’ before store closes

Store closes Saturday, locals express concern over FreshCo’s product quality

BREAKING: Court says B.C. can’t restrict oil shipments in key case for Trans Mountain

A five-judge Appeal Court panel agreed unanimously that B.C.’s proposed legislation was not constitutional

RCMP probe hit-and-run of Richmond senior

The man, who is in his mid-70s, was walking with his wife when he was allegedly struck

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Coquitlam crash kills one person, injured two others

Investigators with the RCMP criminal crash unit are working to determing the cause of the incident

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

Vancouver man in serious condition after crash between motorcycle, transport truck

The man, 40, remains in hospital after a Thursday collision. Police believe speed was a factor

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Most Read