How to Ripen a Cantaloupe Quickly (+ Mistakes to Avoid)

QUESTION: Can You Ripen Cantaloupe in a Microwave?

ANSWER: No – we do not recommend ripening your cantaloupe (aka rock melon) in a microwave. Instead of ripening your fruit, you will likely heat up the water content and spoil the flesh. In more extreme cases you may cause an explosion when the pressure builds inside your melon, as demonstrated by the Brainiacs in the video below.

So, how can you ripen a cantaloupe if heating up in a microwave is out of the question?

We’ll explore different methods for quickly ripening your cantaloupe using household items. We’ll also answer the common questions that arise with unripened cantaloupe.

Ripen Cantaloupe in Microwave

Alternate Ways to Ripen Cantaloupe Faster

Okay – so now that the microwave is out of the picture, what else can you use?

Here’s our list of things to try to hasten the ripening speed (in no particular order).

Can you ripen a cantaloupe with a brown paper bag?

Yes – absolutely.

Using a brown paper bag to ripen fruit is the most straightforward way to speed up the ripening process.

Placing your cantaloupe in the brown paper bag and loosely closing it traps the ethylene gas that your cantaloupe releases.

Note that allowing small openings for airflow and oxygen to reach your cantaloupe is essential. Enclosing it will suffocate the cantaloupe and may produce mold if kept in an unventilated space.

As the ethylene gas builds around your cantaloupe, the ripening process accelerates, and you can enjoy your ripe cantaloupe in no time.

Can you ripen cantaloupe in the sun?

unripe cantaloupe

Like microwaving your cantaloupe, leaving it in the sun will slowly heat up the fruit with less intensity.

If left for too long, you risk the water content in your cantaloupe becoming too hot and (again) potentially spoiling the flesh.

In our opinion, the risk is not worth destroying such a delicious-tasting fruit!

Can I ripen a cantaloupe in the oven?

An oven is a better option for ripening a cantaloupe than a microwave. However, not necessarily in the way, you might think.

Simply place your cantaloupe in the center of your oven and leave it in overnight. DO NOT turn it on, and make sure no one else in the household unknowingly cooks your cantaloupe in the oven. Otherwise, you may end up in a huge mess!

Like the brown paper bag, the oven’s enclosed structure will help trap the ethylene gas and accelerate the ripening process.

Additionally, the inside of the oven also stays consistently warm (particularly those with a pilot). This hastens the process without heating the water content and destroying the flesh.

Ripen a Cantaloupe – Common Questions

Will a Cut Cantaloupe Ripen?

We know you are itching to cut into your cantaloupe, but we recommend taking a deep breath and exercising some patience.

credit: tenor

Only cut into your rock melon when you are sure it is ripe.

Because once you sink your knife into the flesh, your cantaloupe will cease the ripening process. It will stop releasing chemical ethylene, and you will be stuck with a frustratingly bland-tasting oversized paperweight.

To help you identify when to cut your cantaloupe, check for these signs:

  1. Skin color – Cantaloupe skin that has changed from green to creamy yellow indicates it is close to ripening. However, yellow skin does not always indicate a ripe fruit. Our usual process is to avoid green-colored cantaloupes and only select yellow-skinned cantaloupes for further investigation using the next two methods.
  2. Smell the butt end of the cantaloupe – Bring the end of the cantaloupe close to your nose and take a whiff. Cantaloupes that are ripe and ready will release a strong sweet smell that you can detect without cutting them open. If you cannot smell anything, it is not ready.
  3. Press on the sides – A cantaloupe that feels hard as a rock is still in the ripening phase. Gently press on the sides. If you can feel tenderness, it is ready to eat.

Here’s a quick video by YourProduceGuy going over tips for checking the ripeness of your cantaloupe.

How long does it take for cantaloupe to ripen on the kitchen bench?

The answer depends on the ambient temperature of your kitchen. A cantaloupe will mature quicker in warm temperatures, taking approximately one to two days.

However, it can take longer to ripen in cooler temperatures, like four to five days.

Can you ripen cantaloupe off the vine?

Absolutely YES.

As we have just discovered, there are many ways to ripen a cantaloupe off the vine. Our preferred way is to place a cantaloupe in a brown paper bag and let it sit for 24 hours. Alternative methods include ripening it in an oven or on the kitchen bench.

Ripen Cantaloupe in Microwave – Closing Comments

Waiting for a cantaloupe to ripen is as dull as watching paint dry on a wall.

We do not recommend using a microwave to speed up the ripening process because it can damage your fruit and microwave.

We like to use a simple brown paper bag or oven to make our cantaloupe ripe.

If you have any tips or tricks for ripening your cantaloupes quicker, drop us a comment below.

Resources Used

  • Pilot light. (2022, May 14). In Wikipedia.

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