Easy removal from the vine; raised, tan netting on the outside of the fruit; a strong scent; and a growth period between 30 and 45 days since flowering are signs a cantaloupe is ready to pick. Cantaloupes that are harvested at the correct time are the sweetest.
Someone testing a planted cantaloupe for ripeness should lift it and gently twist near the stem; if it is ripe, it comes off easily. A ripe cantaloupe has a raised, tan netting, while one that is not ready has a smoother skin that is still green. A cantaloupe that is ready for picking also has a strong scent, and people who pick them at this point should eat them within a few days or refrigerate them.