There I was out for my weekly food shopping. Pushing my cart up and down the aisles, I couldn’t help but be drawn by the heady aroma of ripe cantaloupes. You know, I’d normally wait for the local ones to come in sometime in July. But, these smelled so good. How could I resist them? I picked each one up, weighed them in my hands, inhaled that musky aroma and put the best one in my cart. I couldn’t wait to cut into it. I bought one and brought it home.
I left the cantaloupe in its plastic bag on my kitchen counter to keep until Sunday when we were planning to have a barbecue. Did I mention shopping day was Friday? Oh, and did I mention that the stretch of days from Friday to Sunday were super hot and humid (i.e. 32°C feeling like 38°C)? I should have stored the cantaloupe in the fridge. Who knows why I didn’t put two and two together. All I can say is that it happens sometimes. It’s like a brain blip … or something. I probably thought it would just continue to ripen. Well, I wasn’t exactly wrong about that, was I? It’s just that I wasn’t completely right either.
The disconnect revolved around what I would find in that bag on Sunday. I neglected to remember that when one adds excessive heat and moisture to an already ripe fruit, one is gently sending said fruit over the edge. So, when Sunday came, I eagerly grabbed my knife and lifted the corner of the plastic bag. No doubt you already know where this is going, right? I didn’t have to lift the bag too far before I got a quick lesson in the art of … the rot, shall we say? My once beautiful cantaloupe was covered in grey fuzz. Yikes, fodder for the composter bin.
Well, was this little setback going to cost me my sweet dessert? No way. I sent hubby out for another cantaloupe. A while later, back he comes with something that looked like a cantaloupe, but smelled and tasted like pressure-treated wood. I cut it up anyway. I was going to have cantaloupe no matter what.
Dinner finally turned the corner toward dessert. I reached for a slice, but just couldn’t eat it. It smelled and tasted so bad. So, now what? I couldn’t toss it. But, just when I thought all was lost, my brain kicked into high gear and managed to come up with a way to turn lemons into lemonade … or rather cantaloupe into cantaloupe-ade.
Here’s what to do:
Peel the cantaloupe and cut it up into smallish chunks. Drop them into a blender and process until smooth. Add sugar to taste. I added about a quarter cup, and that was just about right since this particular specimen lacked considerably in the flavour department. Right, so you’re wondering how adding sugar can turn the tide of flavour for the better. It’s because a little hit of sugar brings out the fruit’s natural flavour. Suddenly, I had perfectly sweet cantaloupe. I added a cup of water just to lengthen it. Poured it into a jug, added a couple of mint leaves and let it steep in the fridge for about an hour. Definitely a keeper. This cantaloupe-ade is the perfect quencher on a scorching day. Since one good idea leads to another, I poured some into a popsicle-maker for tasty ice-cold treats.
See? Embrace your mistakes. Something tasty will (almost) always come out of it.