The cantaloupe commonly purchased in the U.S. should really be called muskmelon, which is also true for Canada and Mexico.
True cantaloupes originated in Armenia. The seeds were then planted in Italy and the resulting fruit was named after the Italian town, Cantaloupe. Despite the misnaming of muskmelon, the fruit is still called cantaloupe. Both, however, are in the same plant family.
The major growers of cantaloupe in order of production are: China, Turkey, Iran, and the U.S. In the U.S., California is the top producer, but it also imports this melon from Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Mexico.
Cantaloupe scores high in a number of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, which researchers have studied and found (in animals) can improve insulin and blood sugar metabolism, and more.
Cantaloupe is high in vitamin A and vitamin C, a good source of potassium, and also contains healthy amounts of dietary fiber, vitamin B1, vitamin B3 (niacin), folate, magnesium, copper and vitamin K. Even the edible seeds are healthy!
Eat it fresh, eat it often, and try in a recipe like the one below....
"Cantaloupe-Pineapple Shrimp Salad"
1-1/2 cups diced cantaloupe
1 cup diced pineapple
1/2 diced red bell pepper (seeded)
1/4 red onion, diced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup chopped mint leaves (fresh)
1/2 small jalapeno (seeded and minced)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed
1 pound cooked, peeled shrimp (deveined)
Mix first 8 ingredients in large bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Just before serving add black beans and shrimp. Salt and pepper to taste and serve on lettuce leaves. (4 servings)
Sister Cantaloupe: Unbe-Weave-Able (2001) staring Trina Jeffrie (A musical comedy)
--The Cantaloupe Cat (1998)
by Jan Yager and Mitzi Lyman (ages 4 up)
--The Tale of the Pronghorned Cantaloupe (2009) (ages 4 up)
by Sabra Steinsiek and Noel Chilton
--"Cantaloupe Island" (1964) by Herbie Hancock