Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – I Grew My First Ever Cantaloupe

My life in appalachia the first ever cantaloupe

For the first time ever-the cantaloupes we planted produced! I believe it was the abundance of rain we’ve had this year. Not so good for other things but apparently very good for cantaloupes.

How do you eat cantaloupe? I sprinkle salt on mine. I remember a conversation I overheard one time.

It was ages ago. We were having dinner after church for one reason or the other, and someone had brought cantaloupe as their covered dish.

I was sitting near an older couple and we were all eating cantaloupe from our plates. The older couple started reminiscing about how they’d eaten cantaloupe on one of their first dates-over 50 years ago.

The couple looked at each other with twinkling eyes and talked about it like it was yesterday. They remembered they sprinkled salt and pepper on their cantaloupe as they ate it, because that was the way the lady’s mother ate hers.

Cataloupe? Salt? Pepper?


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    August 23, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Our Dad fed us so much cantaloupe when we were children that I rarely eat it now, although I do love watermelon (which I eat with salt). Our Dad loved to cut a cantaloupe in half, seed it, mound cottage cheese in the melon’s hole, and eat it like that. He loved them both, so it made perfect sense for him to eat it that way, I guess. LOL
    God bless.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    B-we have about 20. So far weve eaten about 5. I’m hoping we get to eat the rest : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Patti Tappel
    August 18, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Celery Salt! I even introduced some good friends to it this past week. In turn they sent us home with 6 cantaloupes!

  • Reply
    Lola Howard
    August 17, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    salt only .. I peel mine and cut them up into chunks .
    Congratulations on your melon.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 17, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Tipper-I think I have put my foot in my mouth-again. I didn’t read your article carefully the first time. I didn’t mean to detract from your first cantaloupe ever. Congratulations!
    Growing melons of any kind in Appalachia can be a challenge. Sometimes they do well, most times not so well. Sometimes you get a vigorous plant with no fruit. Sometimes plenty of fruit without enough vine to support it. I didn’t plant any kind of melon this year but I have volunteer vines all over the portion of the garden where the beans should have grown. From all those vines I have seen only two melons. The first one has already withered and died on the vine. The second one it still there. It is about the size of a softball but I can’t tell yet what it is.
    I think our ancestors survived by planting enough of a variety that no matter the weather there would be an abundance of something each year. And if the deer and squirrels ate it all, then they ate deer and squirrel.
    Mainstream society considers our forebearers to have been short in the intellectual department but they managed to survive without pesticides, herbicides or food stamps.
    I am not a doomsday prophet but I can foresee a time when food cannot be grow in the part of country where it is best suited then shipped to people who have no idea where it came from and how it grew. What will our children and grandchildren do if they have food for their families but are surrounded by starving people who have no idea how to survive on their own?
    Darwinism proclaims survival of the fittest, but shouldn’t that be fed-est? Who was it that said, “an army travels on it stomach?” That applies to the whole human race. Cut off its food supply and it will wither and die like the melon on my vine. People like you and me and many of your readers, who are at least trying to pass on these survival skills, can rest assured that we have done what we could to preserve a way of life and possibly life itself.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    August 17, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Love good cantaloupe with salt and pepper, or with salt only, or with neither. With salt and pepper is the best, however.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Love it with or without salt! As a sweet treat dessert, we top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    When I was a child we didn’t peel cantaloupe. (mushmelon) We ate it out of the rind with a spoon. Now I peel it and cut it bite sized. Everyone salted it & as as adult I’ve always peppered mine. We’ve never been able to grow good melons in our soil but I’m going to try again–years of compost, etc. has loosened the clay so maybe we could. We’ve got a volunteer watermelon growing like mad–my overeager son picked the biggest melon way ahead of time!!

  • Reply
    August 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Salt only on my cantalope, but I
    can eat it plain also. Didn’t plant
    any of those this year, the rabbits are too Greedy. But my favorite of all cantalopes is the Texas Ambrosia. Our Ingles store had them one time and they were terrific. Now their sign says Eastern Cantalopes and Honey Dew Melons.
    I’m gonna cut-off some corn and
    have a pan of biscuits…Ken

  • Reply
    Dorothy Sanderson
    August 17, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Here is a suggestion: I have tried this and it is a change from plain melon. Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in center of the cut melon and enjoy. I love it this way. I do not like salt & pepper on melon and always eat it plain if I don’t use ice cream.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2013 at 11:09 am

    As my granddaughters would say, “I like my melon ‘naked’!” My parents used to eat salt and pepper on their cantaloupe but they have been influenced by the little ones and now usually eat their melons plain too.
    I didn’t get melons planted in time this year so have had to depend upon melons from the store but they are so bland! Not sure why – we used to get “Pecos” cantaloupe grown from out El Paso way which were the absolute best; but don’t get them anymore.
    Your cantaloupe surely looks good and flavorful. Enjoy?!!

  • Reply
    C. Ron Perry
    August 17, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Salt, absolutely….pepper, not hardly…everyone to their own thing.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 17, 2013 at 10:21 am

    As the risk of appearing the rogue elephant in this parade I must confess, I am not an aficionado of cantaloupe. Neither too papaya, pineapple, pomegranate or pumpkin. I reckon I’ll save my salt for more savory dishes.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2013 at 10:11 am

    I’ve grown or attempted to grow cantalopes, honeydews and water melons most of my life. This year has been extra productive probably due to the extra rain. We’ve been eating honeydew and water melons for several weeks but the cantalopes aren’t quite ready yet. The honeydews don’t last long in the refrigerator like they usually did, again probably due to the extra water in them. They are good though when first cut.
    (I don’t know if there’s a difference but some of the older folks had ‘musk’ or ‘mush’ melons when I was much younger.)

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 17, 2013 at 10:03 am

    When I was a child, Dad would slice a cantalope in slivers and peel. We had breakfast with the special guest cantalope. I always looked forward to the Sunday morning spread, always a little more than just eggs and sausage!
    Nowadays we just wash, the cover (ha) since the ecoli scare, especially if store bought then peel and cut in chunks, take one bite put the rest in the fridge until it is icy cold and forget about it until around ten o’clock or so at night…and eat a bowl full…and for old people like us that is the wrong time to eat cantalope or any melon…I can’t tell you why we continue to do it…
    I went home one day with a friend from high school that was from another city. We went in and immediately took a small cantalope from the fridge, sliced it in half, cleaned it, and put a big scoop of ice cream in it. She gave me the other half. I was shocked as at home one cantalope no matter the size was shared among all the family…No one ever got to eat a half of one and especially with a scoop of ice cream in the center.
    Thanks Tipper,
    Great post….How many melons did you have in your garden? We haven’t grown them in years…

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    August 17, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Unfortunately I’ve bought all my watermelon at the grocery store this summer,but they have been nice and sweet all summer. That usually doesn’t happen.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2013 at 9:15 am

    I always salt my melons, but never pepper them like my sister does. Daddy used to say he didn’t understand why we wanted to ruin the taste of a sweet melon by putting salt on it. My garden soil must have just what it takes to grow melons. I am currently growing orange fleshed watermelons. The honeydews I grow are definitely my favorite. The animals like all varities…As of yesterday, they have eaten all the cantaloupes and four watermelons.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    August 17, 2013 at 9:13 am

    I have eaten it with salt but prefer it without. It’s one of our favorites with a good ole country breakfast.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2013 at 9:02 am

    I really enjoy cantaloupe. I cut it up into small pieces and then I either eat it plain or I mix it with cottage cheese or yogurt. I have never tried it with salt, pepper, etc. I also enjoy a good honeydew. I am off to the fridge for some of my cantaloupe.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 17, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Tipper–Congratulations on growing them (one reason you may have had trouble in the past is soil composition–most mountain soils, except in river bottoms–aren’t ideal). How in the world did you manage to keep the ‘coons and terrapins (actually painted turtles, but we always called them terrapins) out of them? Both critters seem to be able to recognize a ripe, ready to eat cantaloupe at 300 yards.
    Incidentally, did you ever grow muskmelons (mushmelons)? They were Grandpa Joe’s substitute for cantaloupes.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    August 17, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Congrats on your first cantaloupe, it’s so rewarding to finally have fruit after several plantings. We have watermelon, can’t wait to try it. I like my cantaloupe plain, no salt or pepper.

  • Reply
    Gina S
    August 17, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Grandmama B frequently served cantaloupe for breakfast. I do the same for the taste is a perfect compliment to sausage or bacon. Her melons were grown by Grandpa in his Lincoln County garden. He always sprinkled the cantaloupe with salt and pepper and so do I. Grandmama canned sausage every fall using sage from her sage bush and dried cayenne pepper from the garden. I wish I could sit down at her table just one more time.

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    August 17, 2013 at 7:50 am

    Tipper the salt and pepper is favorite way to eat cantaloupe, have done it for as long as I can remember after seeing Mom eating it that way I tried it and loved it.

  • Reply
    Canned Quilter
    August 17, 2013 at 7:42 am

    My husband eats pepper on his cantaloupe also! Me I just like a pinch of salt : )

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 17, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Cantaloupe? Bare and often.
    I never met a melon I didn’t like. Watermelon is my favorite by far but I would never shun a cantaloupe. When I was younger I salted cantaloupe but no more.
    Congratulations on growing the cantaloupe. It looks very good in the picture. I bet the Deer Hunter helped you eat it, he really likes them.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    August 17, 2013 at 7:19 am

    I like mine best the way nature made it. Same for watermelon. It is good with salt, but to me better plain.

  • Reply
    Beverly Forrester
    August 17, 2013 at 7:15 am

    I eat my cantaloupe with no salt or pepper. It is just too good to add anyting! Growing up and even now we always have a big plate of homemade biscuits and gravy with our cantaloupe. I can just taste it now!

  • Reply
    Lonnie Baker
    August 17, 2013 at 7:14 am

    I always squeeze a slice of lime on cantaloupe and then add salt and pepper. Occasionally, I will use chili pepper instead of black pepper.

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