SEASON’S BEST: MELONS

Deconstructed Salad low res

Summer Produce: Peak Flavor

Why serve in-season ingredients when most foods are available year-round? Well in the case of fresh fruits, especially melons, offering them when they are at their peak flavor, i.e. the summer and early fall months, means you will be serving the sweetest, most delicious versions possible.
The right combination of high heat, rich soil, and summer light occurs during these months each year. Savvy chefs know this is the time to order ripe and juicy cantaloupes, honeydews, and watermelons that have been grown domestically because they are so sweet and make healthy, craveable dishes for seasonal menus.
Now that you have these gems in your kitchen, how do you best showcase their vibrant colors and refreshing flavors?
Fresh melons can be used in every category of the menu, in both sweet and savory applications, making them one of the most versatile produce items out there.
And for busy chefs that are low on staff during these labor shortage times, Ready-Set-Serve® (RSS) Fresh-Cut Cantaloupe and Honeydew is available in several different cuts and pack sizes. Just open the convenient bucket and scoop—saving actual time and money that can add up to thousands per year in employee wages and waste removal bills.

Ready-Set-Serve Fresh-Cut Melons
• Cantaloupe Chunks:
8-, 2/8-, and 24-lb. packs
• Preservative-Free Cantaloupe Chunks:
8-, 2/8-, and 14-lb. packs
• Honeydew Chunks:
8-, 2/8-, and 24-lb. packs
• Preservative-Free Honeydew Chunks:
8-, 2/8-, and 14-lb. packs
• Cantaloupe-
Honeydew Mix:
2/8-lb: 91391
Markon First Crop Cantaloupe & Honeydew Melons
• MFC Cantaloupe:
9- to 18-ct. sizes
• MFC Honeydew:
4- to 9-ct. sizes
Delicious Partners
Bacon, black pepper, cilantro, celery, chiles, cucumbers, mint, and seafood

Refresh your menu with these on-trend ideas

• Arrange RSS Cantaloupe Chunks in a geometric pattern along with cubes of watermelon, Mozzarella, red and yellow tomatoes, and avocados; sprinkle with herbs, seeds, and microgreens and drizzle with vinaigrette (see page one top photo).
• Toss chopped watermelon, RSS Sliced Red Onions, strips of mango, crumbled Feta cheese, and Markon First Crop® (MFC) Fresh Mint.
• Puree cantaloupe and honeydew melon with coconut milk, honey, RSS Lime Juice, lemongrass, and salt; serve as a chilled soup (see page one middle photo).
• Top RSS Cantaloupe and Honeydew Chunks with thinly sliced prosciutto or Serrano ham; serve with freshly cracked black pepper (see right photo).
• Serve scoops of any type of melon (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon) and Thai basil in citrus (lime or lemon) cups for visual/social media appeal (see right/middle photo).
• Pan-sear or roast RSS Cantaloupe Chunks until they get a smoky char; serve on granola, ice cream, or in a creamy risotto.
• Scoop a hole into watermelon cubes and fill with a mixture of crumbled goat cheese, minced MFC Cucumbers, and MFC Baby Dill; drizzle with balsamic syrup. Serve as an appetizer or with green salads.
• Create a refreshing ceviche with scallops, diced honeydew melon, RSS Lime Juice and fresh chiles.
• Watermelon is a easy fit for summer cocktails, whether pureed, muddled, in chunks, or as garnishes, this fruit absorbs flavors while refreshing palates.
• Grill wedges of cantaloupe; drizzle with honey, RSS Lime Juice, and Tajine for a healthy, sophisticated snack.
• Toss shaved ribbons of honeydew melon, RSS Shredded Kale, shaved fennel, and peppery- orange vinaigrette.
• Mix up a quick and easy summer salsa consisting of minced cantaloupe, honeydew, water-melon, RSS Diced Red Onions, jalapeno chile peppers, cilantro, RSS Lime Juice, and MFC Red Bell Peppers; serve with fried tortilla chips or on top of grilled meats, poultry, and seafood.
• Smoothies love melons—their silky texture and mild flavors pair with a variety of immunity-boosting add-ins.
• Puree honeydew with Champagne and freeze in popsicle molds; serve upside down to keep white wine chilled for photo-worthy beverages.
• Get kids to eat more fruit with dessert pizza made with watermelon wedges, cream cheese, MFC Strawberries, blue-berries, sliced kiwifruits, and shredded coconut.

Know Your Melons
• Cantaloupe: They possess tan, netted skins that yield bright orange flesh that is sweet, juicy, and tender.
• Honeydew: Large and round, their rinds are greenish yellow; inside is pale green flesh that has a mildly sweet flavor.
• Casaba: Gourd-like and deep yellow in color, they have pale white subtly sweet flavor.
• Watermelon: Extra-large fruits with green striped flesh and bright red, granular flesh.
• Canary: These fruits get their names from their bright yellow rinds. The flavor is mellow, much-like honeydews. Texture is granular/pear-like.

Diners are increasingly hyper-focused on high-protein and plant-based foods. Alongside all of the new-fangled, lab-based, cell-cultured options out there is the humble bean. A staple food for millenia, beans are being re-examined as a healthy, versatile ingredient worthy of menu inclusion.

  • Retro and heirloom recipes—like Southern succotash, French cassoulet, and Cajun red beans and rice—fit the bill for those in search of authenticity.
  • Most world cuisines incorporate some type of bean in their classic dishes. Think feijoada in Brazil, black beans and rice with plantains in Puerto Rico, and garbanzo beans in Israel. Modern interpretations of these recipes are packed with produce and herbs.
  • The creamy texture of mung beans is proving an ideal substitute for those that are eliminating soy from their diets.