A lovely fresh cantaloupe sorbet is a great solution for using an overripe cantaloupe.
I often have a cantaloupe on the kitchen counter in the summer allowing it to “hatch” for a couple of days. Like coaxing an avocado to perfect ripeness, the ripening of a cantaloupe is nerve-wracking to say the least. I consider it a gift when either one is just ripe. The PROBLEM is that I often let the hatching process go too far. Where did those fruit flies come from? Now I’m angry and stuck with a very fragrant, ripe, juicy cantaloupe with the texture of mush. If salvageable, it’s cubed up and frozen for smoothies which helps a bit with my frustration.
Another great option is to make a lovely cantaloupe sorbet. I keep the ice cream insert in my freezer all the time just for these “problems” that turn into “opportunities.”
All you have to do is whizz up the fruit in the blender or food processor, add sugar and/or corn syrup and a little acid ala lemon or lime juice. It also helps to have the fruit chilled for more efficient freezing in the machine. The corn syrup makes the sorbet creamy for better mouthfeel and easier scooping. If you like an icier texture, use all sugar. Go one step further and trick out the sorbet with an unexpected herb or seasoning. I often add a pinch of cayenne pepper. If there’s a honeydew or casaba melon on the counter going South, you can use that, too.
I come from a family that likes salt and pepper on cantaloupe so I strongly suggest serving it in little cups with freshly cracked black pepper and a sprinkling of coarse fancy salt, delightfully light and elegant way to end a meal. A jalapeno slice garnish creates a surprising stir as well.
Overripe tomatoes are another staple on my kitchen counter in the summer. Here’s how to make a great overripe tomato vinaigrette.
- 4 cups cantaloupe puree (about 1 small to medium cantaloupe)
- 3/4 cup sugar or a combination of 1/2 cup corn syrup and 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
- Cayenne pepper, black pepper, coarse salt, optional
- Fresh jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced, optional
Combine the cantaloupe, sugar/corn syrup, and lemon or lime juice. Stir and taste that the sugar has dissolved.
Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Transfer to a container with a lid. Freeze until firm.
Allow to soften a bit before serving or nuke on defrost a couple of minutes.
Serve scoops topped with black pepper, coarse salt, and jalapeño slices, as desired.