Watermelon is a nutritional powerhouse.
Cut into triangle wedges, as kids grabbed slices off of the counter as our moms shoved us back outside to let the juices flow and not make a mess inside. Our slices were full of black seeds that we would enjoy spitting at our siblings and friends on a hot summer day, while rivers of sweet, red juice ran down our arms. Pink drips would run down our elbows and stain our shirts. Those simple summer memories that are so vivid.
I have always loved watermelon. My husband and kids cannot get enough. Unsliced it can sit on our counter for a week, but once I cut into it, it is gone the same day!But, have you noticed that most watermelons are a seedless variety now? It is hard to find a watermelon in the store WITH those black seeds; 98% sold are seedless. Although much easier to eat, this means no more seed-spitting contests!! For me, this brings up issues of GMOs … .BUT, that is another topic for another blog.
Watermelon season runs from May through October. Ninety-two percent water, watermelon is low in calories, as well as an excellent source of vitamin C and beta carotene. It is considered one of the cleanest, non-organic fruits to eat because of its thick skin. Watermelon contains lycopene; a powerful antioxidant proven to fight off certain types of cancer. I like it best sprinkled with sea salt.
When choosing a watermelon at the store, the skin should be slightly shiny. It should have a yellow or white spot on the surface somewhere and if you knock on it, it should sound hollow. You want to pick one that feels heavy for its size, usually meaning that it is full of juice.
Add watermelon to fruit salad. Fresh mint is a great compliment to a watermelon dish. Here are a couple of additional recipes to enjoy with your family.
- 15 cups seeded and cubed watermelon
- 2 (12-ounce) cans frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
- 2 mint sprigs
Process watermelon, in batches, in a blender or food processor until smooth. Combine concentrate and 2 mint sprigs, and cook in a saucepan over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Stir together watermelon puree and lemonade mixture; cover and chill for 8 hours. Remove and discard mint. Stir and serve over ice. Garnish with mint sprig.
Watermelon, Feta & Basil Salad
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 T fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 8 lb seedless watermelon cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
- 1 cup reduced-fat feta
- 1 small sweet onion
- 1 cup coarsely chopped basil leaves
In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the watermelon, feta and onion. Stir gently. Garnish with the basil.