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When to Pick Canteloupes

I am growing canteloupes for the first time this year. I have always wanted to try growing them, but never had a place to put them. When I went to pick my first canteloupe I wish I knew then what I know now.

Depending on where you live, canteloupes can be very easy to grow. Where we live it is very hot in the summer, and if you keep them well watered, canteloupes grow really well. Canteloupes require a steady supply of water. The soil should remain moist but not waterlogged.

picking canteloupe

I also learned that canteloupes require bees to grow successfully. There are both male and female flowers that require bees to pollinate them. Interesting!

I have been waiting and waiting for our first canteloupe. It is already August and the first ones are starting to ripen. I go out and look at them every day, trying to figure out if they are ripe yet.

I wish I had known what to look for before I picked the first one, because I picked it a little too early. Even if they look ripe, they might not be quite ready yet.

The way to tell if a canteloupe is ripe is to gently push on the stem, right next to the canteloupe. If the stem separates easily from the fruit, then the canteloupe is ripe and ready to eat. You can also tell if a canteloupe is ripe by gently pressing on the side of it. If your finger leaves a small impression in the side of the fruit then it is ripe.

The second mistake I made was to cut the canteloupe even after I realized it probably wasn't quite ripe yet. If you pick a canteloupe too soon, it is not too late, as long as you don't cut it. If you leave it out on the counter for a few days it will continue to ripen. If you cut into it before it is ripe, it will not continue to ripen in the refrigerator. Leave it out, uncut, until it is ripe.

Luckily the first one I picked was a small one. There is another big one out there that is slowly, slowly ripening, and a couple of baby ones. It is hard to be patient! At least I know what to look for now.

Copyright 2012, Creative Homemaking, LLC. This article may not be reprinted.

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Rachel Paxton
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