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Melons are still available,

Sometimes melons are best without a recipe involved. Just cut and serve.


Lately, I have been craving fresh melon, such as cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon.

I must admit I have been disappointed in a lot of the cantaloupes I have purchased, even the containers of cubed and seeded cantaloupe available in many grocery stores. It is so crunchy and pale and so often not sweet or juicy. I do love crisp grapes (especially the variety called Pristine), but I remember when cantaloupes were deep orange, tender, fragrant and extremely flavorful.

Anyone remember muskmelons? I miss those a lot.

I find myself wanting to skip having a typical dinner, preferring to forge ahead right to the fresh melons for dessert. Sometimes I give in to that desire.

Here are some recipes that feature fresh melons. I hope you can find some delicious ones to enjoy.

Hawaiian fruit salad with banana dressing

Prepare the dressing about 2 hours before serving.

1 pineapple, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 medium cantaloupe, cut into cubes or use a melon ball tool

1 medium honeydew melon, cut into cubes or use a melon ball tool

1 papaya, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces

1 cup red or green grapes, cut into halves

1 cup strawberries, cut into halves lengthwise

For the dressing:

2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1. To prepare dressing: Place bananas, sour cream, brown sugar and lemon juice in a blender. Blend about 15 to 20 seconds or until smooth. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

2. Combine all cut fruits in a large bowl and toss together gently. Mound fruit on individual, lettuce lined plates. Serve banana dressing in a gravy boat, or pour dressing over individual fruit salads. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Chicken, mango and cantaloupe salad

1 medium ripe mango, peeled seeded, chopped

2 boneless chicken breasts (uncooked)

6 jumbo pasta shells

1/2 cantaloupe, seeded and diced

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

Any favorite seasonings

1. Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper and any of your favorite seasonings, such as garlic powder or blends that go well with chicken. Grill chicken breasts, then cool and cut into small pieces (remove any skin if there is any). Set aside.

2. Cook pasta according to directions on package. Carefully rinse with cold water and set aside.

3. Combine diced mango and melon, chicken and rest of ingredients; stuff shells. Chill until ready to serve.

Watermelon jelly

6 cups seeded chopped watermelon

5 cups sugar

1/3 cup white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 to 3 drops red food coloring, optional

2 pouches (3 ounces each) liquid fruit pectin

1. Place watermelon in a food processor; cover and process until pureed. Line a strainer with 4 layers of cheesecloth and place over a bowl. Place pureed watermelon in prepared strainer; cover with edges of cheesecloth. Let stand 10 minutes or until liquid measures 2 cups.

2. Discard watermelon pulp from cheesecloth; place liquid in a large saucepan. Stir in sugar, vinegar, lemon juice and, if desired, food coloring. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Continue to boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.

3. Remove from heat; skim off foam. Ladle hot mixture into 5 hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars; screw on bands until fingertip tight.

4. Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil; process for 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Makes 5 half-pints.

Strawberry melon fizz

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

5 fresh mint sprigs

1 quart fresh strawberries, halved

2 cups cubed honeydew melon

1 3/4 cups cubed cantaloupe

Ginger ale or sparkling white grape juice

1. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, water and mint; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Remove from the heat; allow to cool completely. Discard mint.

2. Combine strawberries and melon. Just before serving, fill tall glasses with fruit and drizzle each with 1 tablespoon syrup. Add ginger ale to each glass. Makes 10 servings.



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