“How do you tell for certain that a cantaloupe is ripe?” I once asked my Uncle while restocking the melon display. My Uncle is a fruit and vegetable expert. He is a New England farmer who has grown and sold plants and produce in Pepperell, Massachusetts for decades.
When I asked him about the cantaloupe, I was a college student earning tuition money by waiting on customers who frequented the fruit and vegetable stand that my Uncle owns.
To that point, in my life, I’d tried a number of techniques to select a ripe melon. I’d tried holding the melon to my ear, knocking my knuckles on the outer rind, and listening for a hollow sound. I’d tried sniffing the end where the stem had once been to see if I could detect a sweet, fruity smell. I’d tried examining the melons to find one with a light-colored oval on the skin—I’d heard a light-colored oval was a sure sign that the melon had ripened in the patch.
None of my methods really worked. Finding a ripe melon took a lucky guess. I wondered if the expert could teach me a more certain way. Continue reading “When you won’t know until you try…”