Muskmelon is often referred to as cantaloupe, but in truth the two melons are not the same. Muskmelon, typically sold in U.S. markets as cantaloupe, produces a light orange-brown skin with a rough netting. True cantaloupe produces rough warty skin that lacks the characteristic netting. Both require the same growing conditions and can be grown in home gardens. Whatever you choose to call them, their fruit is sweet and juicy and perfect for a needed break on a hot summer day.
Select a ripe muskmelon that exhibits the characteristics you want to preserve. Consider the size, shape and flavor of the specific fruit. Seeds carry the genetics of the parent and tend to reproduce with similar traits. If early-maturing fruit is an important trait, you must gather seeds from a fruit that matured early in your garden.
Cut the muskmelon in half and scoop out the seeds and the fleshy pulp.
Place in a jar of warm water and allow to soak for 24 to 48 hours. The pulp ferments, separating good seed from bad seed and killing viruses that may affect seeds.
Stir the mixture daily to speed fermentation. Scoop off any seeds that float, as they are not viable seeds and will not germinate.
Pour off the water and scum, discarding any pulp or floating seeds. Spread the remaining seeds on paper towels to dry. Turn seeds after 24 hours to thoroughly dry all sides of the seeds.
Place seeds in a plastic food storage bag and freeze in the freezer for 2 days to kill any disease or insect larvae.
Store seeds in an airtight container in a cool dark place until spring.