One of the things that most remind us of summer is those juicy, orange wedges of sweet cantaloupe.
But when the season is over, we have to wait a few months for this summer fruit to be available again — is there a way to enjoy cantaloupe year-round?
Can you freeze cantaloupe? The answer is a resounding yes! This is an easy way to preserve this fruit for months. You can freeze cantaloupe in a few different ways. We recommend that you freeze peeled and deseeded cantaloupe in chunks or wedges, or freeze it pureed. Cantaloupe can also be frozen in simple syrup.
In this article, we tell you how freezing affects cantaloupe, how long it lasts in the freezer, how to defrost and use frozen cantaloupe, and of course, how to freeze cantaloupe in a few different ways.
Can You Really Freeze Cantaloupe?
The cantaloupe, also known as “rockmelon” or “sweet melon,” belongs to the muskmelon species. It is a refreshing summer fruit packed with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
Cantaloupes are in season during the summer months, so this is when these fruits are most flavorful. Can you freeze cantaloupe to be able to enjoy them year-round despite the season?
Luckily, you can! While frozen cantaloupes are not something you will come across often when shopping at the frozen fruits aisle, this summer fruit actually freezes quite well.
Cantaloupes have a very high water content. In fact, these melons are over 90 percent water! And typically fruits that have high water content don’t freeze as well as fruits with lower water content.
Still, you can successfully freeze cantaloupes if you follow a few simple rules. If you have never frozen cantaloupe, consider doing it for the following reasons:
- Freezing extends the shelf life of cantaloupe. Cantaloupe lasts around 4 days at room temperature and up to 10 days in the fridge. The freezer, however, extends the shelf life of cantaloupe for multiple months!
- Cantaloupes are seasonal fruits. They are only in season during the summer months. Freezing cantaloupes allows you to enjoy these tasty and nutritious fruits year-round!
- Freezing stops the ripening process of cantaloupes. Different levels of ripeness create different flavors and textures in cantaloupes. If you don’t like overripe cantaloupes, consider freezing them.
How Does Freezing Affect Cantaloupe?
As noted, cantaloupe has high water content. When you freeze it, the water molecules expand and cause damage to the cell walls. As a result, defrosted cantaloupe is softer than it originally was.
Freezing doesn’t affect the flavor of cantaloupe. Some people even find cantaloupe to be tastier when it is still a little frosty.
To bring the texture changes to a minimum, get a cantaloupe that is ripe but not too soft and soggy. Also, it is important to package cantaloupe properly before putting it in the freezer.
Cantaloupe that hasn’t been packaged properly will suffer a freezer burn. Freezer burn, as you may know, affects the flavor and texture of food considerably!
How To Prepare Cantaloupe For Freezing
No matter which freezing method you use for cantaloupe, there are a few steps you should take to prepare it for freezing:
- Choose a ripe cantaloupe:
- Take a look at all the cantaloupes available. A ripe cantaloupe has a tan color with light green lines all over it.
- Feel the weight of the cantaloupe — it should feel heavy for its size. A cantaloupe should feel firm, but not too hard.
- Smell the cantaloupe. A ripe cantaloupe has a pleasantly sweet and musky aroma.
- Process the cantaloupe (more on this below):
- Wash the cantaloupe.
- Trim the ends of the cantaloupe and cut it in half.
- Scoop out the seeds using a spoon.
- Peel and cut the cantaloupe however you wish.
- Place in a freezer-safe container of choice, then freeze away!
Best Ways To Freeze Cantaloupe
There are a few ways to freeze cantaloupe. Choosing a freezing method for cantaloupe will depend on how you plan to use it later and how much time you have for freezing preparations.
Here are some of our favorite ways to freeze cantaloupes!
1. Freezing Cantaloupe In Slices And Wedges
Freezing cantaloupe in wedges is a good option if you will be eating the fruit as a snack or if you don’t want to do a lot of chopping.
Additionally, if you freeze cantaloupe in slices, you can then cut it into smaller pieces if needed.
Here is how to freeze cantaloupe in slices:
- Cut the cantaloupe in half, remove the seeds, and then cut it lengthwise to get wedges of your desired thickness.
- Remove the rind by running your knife between the flesh and the skin of each wedge.
- Another easy way to remove the cantaloupe skin is to trim the edges of the melon and put the fruit on one of the flat sides.
- Slide the knife down, running it between the flesh and the skin following the shape of the cantaloupe.
- Line a baking tray or a cutting board with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Arrange the cantaloupe wedges on the tray in a single layer — make sure the wedges are not touching each other.
- Put the cantaloupe wedges in the freezer and flash-freeze until solid.
- Remove the cantaloupe wedges from the freezer and put them in airtight plastic containers or Ziploc bags.
- If your cantaloupe wedges are on the thicker side, you can take a few minutes to wrap them individually with plastic wrap for an added layer of protection against freezer burn.
- Label the freezer bags with the date and put the cantaloupe wedges in the freezer. Don’t put other frozen items on them to avoid damaging the integrity of the slices.
2. Freezing Cantaloupe Chunks
Cantaloupe frozen in chunks is very convenient if you will be using it for smoothies, fruit salads, and other recipes where you need smaller pieces of cantaloupe.
Cantaloupe chunks are also easier to store in the freezer and take less time to defrost!
Here’s how to freeze cantaloupe in chunks:
- Wash, peel, and deseed the cantaloupe using the instructions above.
- Cut the cantaloupe into wedges first, then chop it into cubes of your preferred size.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper or food wrap, then arrange the cantaloupe chunks on it in a single layer. Make sure that they do not touch.
- Flash-freeze the cantaloupe until solid.
- Divide the cantaloupe cubes into 1–2-cup portions (or portion size of choice).
- Optional: You can sprinkle the cantaloupe chunks with granulated or powdered sugar to help prevent moisture loss and color changes.
- Transfer the frozen cantaloupe chunks into resealable plastic bags. Push out the excess air from the bags or use a straw to remove it.
- Label the bags with the date and place them in the freezer.
3. Freezing Pureed Cantaloupe
If your cantaloupe is too soft to freeze in wedges or chunks, puree it before freezing it. Pureed cantaloupe works great for smoothies and homemade ice cream!
Here’s how to freeze cantaloupe puree:
- Wash, peel, and deseed the cantaloupe.
- Cut the cantaloupe into chunks.
- Puree the cantaloupe using a blender or a food processor.
- Divide the cantaloupe puree into portions and freeze.
- You can freeze cantaloupe puree in airtight plastic containers or heavy-duty zip-top bags. Zip-top bags are more space-efficient as you can flatten the bags and stack them on each other.
- You can also freeze cantaloupe puree in popsicle molds or ice cube trays. If your ice cube tray doesn’t have a cover, wrap it with plastic wrap to prevent the fruit from getting freezer burn.
- Label with the date and freeze.
4. Freezing Cantaloupe In Sugar Syrup
If you don’t mind extra calories and carbs, freeze cantaloupe in sugar syrup!
When thawed, cantaloupe frozen in syrup resembles canned fruit. Freeze cantaloupe in sugar syrup to use it for cocktails, smoothies, and various sweet treats.
Here’s how to freeze cantaloupe in sugar syrup:
- Wash, peel, and deseed the cantaloupe.
- Cut the cantaloupe into small cubes, then set aside while you make the simple syrup.
- In a saucepan, combine 4 cups of water with 2 cups of sugar, then warm it on the stove over medium heat.
- You can make the syrup more or less sweet by adjusting the water-to-sugar ratio.
- Stir until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar dissolves.
- Remove the sugar syrup from the heat until it changes its color. The syrup should be clear and not cloudy.
- Allow the mixture to cool.
- Divide the cut cantaloupe into portions and mix it with equal amounts of syrup.
- You can use heavy-duty zip-top bags to store the cantaloupe in syrup. Airtight containers will work too.
- When using a container, press a piece of food wrap or parchment paper onto the surface of the cantaloupe — only then should you cover the container with the lid.
- Label with the date and freeze.
Can You Freeze An Uncut Cantaloupe?
Freezing cantaloupe whole is not a good idea. Doing this is definitely not space-efficient, but even if you have a lot of freezer space, freezing a whole cantaloupe is problematic.
Cutting a fresh, whole cantaloupe is a lot easier than one that has been frozen and defrosted. Additionally, cutting a cantaloupe before freezing allows you to divide the fruit into portions.
Pre-cut cantaloupe takes less time to defrost and you can defrost as much of it as you need without risking any food waste.
Can You Freeze Cantaloupe With Skin On?
You can freeze cantaloupe without peeling it. If you decide to do this, make sure to thoroughly wash the cantaloupe skin before cutting it.
Freezing unpeeled cantaloupe works well if you are freezing it in slices or wedges!
How Long Does Cantaloupe Last In The Freezer?
Cantaloupe stored properly in the freezer will be good for up to 6 months. Provided that the temperature in your freezer is stable, cantaloupe will last even longer in the freezer.
However, the longer the cantaloupe stays in the freezer, the higher the chances are that it will suffer texture and flavor changes or get a freezer burn.
Can You Refreeze Cantaloupe?
Refreezing cantaloupe is not recommended as it may result in major texture changes. With this being said, if you have defrosted cantaloupe and won’t be eating it, put it back into the freezer as soon as possible.
Use refrozen cantaloupe for recipes where you will be blending the cantaloupe and the texture changes of the fruit won’t be as noticeable.
How To Defrost Cantaloupe
To defrost cantaloupe, you need to transfer it from the freezer into the fridge. Defrosting cantaloupe at room temperature is not recommended for two reasons.
First, you shouldn’t leave cut fruit at room temperature for longer than 2 hours to avoid bacterial contamination. And second, thawing frozen cantaloupe in the fridge minimizes any texture changes.
When defrosting pureed or sugar-preserved cantaloupe, give it a stir every now and then to speed up the thawing process.
Defrosted cantaloupe is perfect when served as a snack or used in fruit salads. If you will be eating cantaloupe on its own, you may choose not to fully defrost it as frosty cantaloupe has a fun, enjoyable texture!
Ways To Use Frozen Cantaloupe
You can enjoy frozen cantaloupe “as is” or use it to make refreshing drinks and treats. Here are some of our favorite things to make using frozen cantaloupe:
- Smoothies. The easiest way to use frozen cantaloupe is to make smoothies. Frozen fruits yield smoothies with a thicker consistency.
- You can blend cantaloupe with bananas, pineapples, and berries to make delicious smoothies.
- Other ingredients you can use to make cantaloupe smoothies include greek yogurt, orange juice, vanilla extract, and various sweeteners.
- Ice Cream. Cantaloupe ice cream is a fun new flavor to try out if you love making ice cream at home.
- Blend cantaloupe with whipping cream or milk. You can also use almond milk to make vegan cantaloupe ice cream.
- Blending frozen cantaloupe with frozen bananas is another way to make a healthy, vegan ice cream.
- Sorbet. If you are craving a refreshing dessert, use frozen cantaloupe to make a sorbet. All you have to do is to blend the frozen cantaloupes with lime juice and some honey!
- Cocktails. Frozen cantaloupes are also great for cocktails. If you love margaritas, try making them with frozen cantaloupes next time.
- Fruit Compote. Use frozen cantaloupe to make a fruit compote.
- Cook cantaloupe chunks in sugar on their own or with berries until the compote reaches your desired consistency.
- For a richer flavor, add lemon or orange peel to the cantaloupe compote or season it with vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, and other spices.
- Quick Bread. A great way to use frozen cantaloupe is to make quick bread!
- Puree frozen cantaloupe, then mix it with the baking ingredients such as flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.
- To make cantaloupe loaves even more flavorful, add vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and chopped nuts to the batter.
How To Tell If Cantaloupe Is Bad
Make sure the cantaloupe is good before you freeze it. When you cut the cantaloupe to freeze it, give it a sniff test. Good cantaloupe has a sweet musky aroma while cantaloupe that has gone bad has an unpleasant sour smell.
Inspect the color and texture of the flesh too. If the cantaloupe flesh is very discolored and mushy, don’t freeze.
When it comes to frozen cantaloupe, you should discard it if it is heavily freezer-burned. While freezer-burned cantaloupe is safe to eat, it will have an off-putting flavor and texture.
Once defrosted, check the smell and taste of the cantaloupe before using it. If you have frozen and defrosted cantaloupe multiple times, there is a chance of mold growing on it. Discard the cantaloupe if you notice traces of mold.