Cooking from the Farmers’ Market – Cantaloupe in Spiced Syrup August 6, 2010

You don't see a lot of cantaloupe recipes. The ones I've seen are for granitas or for slices wrapped in prosciutto. When I was flipping through Williams-Sonoma's Cooking From The Farmers' Market, I noticed several recipes for cantaloupe.  I was instantly transported back to mornings (or afternoons…or after dinner, really) at my house growing up. Cantaloupe and watermelon were two of my dad's favorite things. I never grew up knowing about cottage cheese and cantaloupe. I grew up knowing about putting pepper on melon. My dad always did it – sometimes with a healthy dash of salt, as well. Making this recipe took me back to those times and, well, maybe my dad was onto something.

We're at peak season for cantaloupes – they're best in July and August – and the few I've tasted have been very impressive. Super sweet and perfect texture. I've added a little sprinkle of fresh ground pepper to the final dish, as well as a smattering of herbs that are from the patio garden. The strength of the star anise and the ginger is really complimented by the brightness of the herbs and the lemon. This is just a simple, refreshing and easy dessert that was spot-on during one of the hottest summer weeks I can remember – make the syrup in advance, slice your melon & store it in the fridge and assemble when you're ready.

Cantaloupe in Spiced Syrup – makes 4 servings

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and either cubed or sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs, tough stems removed – mint, regular or lemon basil, lemon verbena, lemon thyme, cinnamon basil would be great here
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste

– Heat the sugar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the ginger, star anise and lemon juice & zest and simmer for 10 minutes to make a syrup. Let cool then strain. Arrange the cantaloupe into a bowl and drizzle with the spiced syrup. Serve at once.


Dennis Aug 6, 2010 09:08 am

This dessert sounds great, like the combination with star anise and ginger :)

pixie Aug 7, 2010 12:08 pm

Yum! I grew up salting my watermelon as well. That’s just how we did it in the south, people up here laugh at me when they see me sprinkle a tiny bit on my melons.

tobias cooks! Aug 7, 2010 02:08 pm

I guess I can try that with a simple sugar melon as well.

Gaby @ What's Gaby Cooking Aug 9, 2010 03:08 pm

I just picked up the most delicious cantaloupe from my farmers market this past weekend! I love the spices in the syrup – for sure going to give this one a try!

Jessica Aug 9, 2010 08:08 pm

Delicious! I’ve never noticed before you mentioned it, but I’ve not seen too many recipes for canteloupe either. Thanks for this tasty one.

deana@lostpastremembered Aug 13, 2010 03:08 pm

The NYT’s had a great recipe for a chamomile syrup to have with melon… it was delicious as I am thinking yours will be!!

Fertil Aid for Men Sep 22, 2010 06:09 pm

WOW! Sweet! Yummy! ^_^ hmm thanks for the recipe Cant wait to make one of this ^_^