Fun Ways to Serve Watermelon

This article, entitled Watermelon…Juicy, Cheap & Healthy (And A Few New Ways To Serve It) comes from partner site 719woman.com.

Watermelon is a healthy, juicy and at this time of year, inexpensive summer treat. It’s a great choice when you have a crowd over for a barbecue…easy to make (doesn’t get much easier than slicing a wedge), economical and pretty much everyone loves its refreshing and juicy sweetness.

How To Choose The Perfect Watermelon
My mom always thumped melons when I was little but I was never really sure what she was listening for. I have chosen lots of watermelons over the years that weren’t that great because I was thumping (for show I think) or just picking up the biggest one, thinking I was getting a great deal. Here’s three easy ways to determine if your watermelon is ripe and juicy (according to the National Watermelon Promotion Board.)
  1. LOOK THE WATERMELON OVER
    Look for firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents. You don’t have to worry about size or roundness, but if it’s not symmetrical and has an irregular shape, that means it probably had poor growing conditions, which can leave it lacking in flavor.

  2. LIFT IT UP
    Watermelon should be heavy for its size. Watermelon is 92% water, most of the weight is water, so the heavier it is (for its size), the juicier it will be. Pick up a few similar in size and opt for the heaviest.

  3. TURN IT OVER
    The underside should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun. If you don’t see a spot, it means the melon was probably prematurely picked.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Watermelon is a great treat for kids (or adults) because they love the flavor, can eat it with their hands and then have fun with seed spitting contests and it’s healthy (which they don’t have to know). And contrary to what you were told as a kid, watermelons will not grow in your stomach if you swallow the seeds! A two cup serving of diced watermelon has only 80 calories, has 0% fat, cholesterol and sodium and provides 30% of your daily vitamin A and 25% of your daily vitamin C. It also provides potassium and is loaded with lycopene. In fact, it contains higher levels of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. And if you store an uncut watermelon at room temperature, it raises the levels of lycopene by up to 20%…you should slice the fruit within a few days of purchase and stick any leftovers in the fridge. And because of its water content, it can help you stay hydrated.

Watermelon can be diced, sliced, balled or cut into bite size pieces. If you have any leftovers, here are a few simple and quick (and different) recipes to try.

GRILLED WATERMELON

Brush a few thick slices with olive oil, sear on a hot grill for about 5 minutes and then sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked pepper.

WATERMELON SALSA

Toss together diced watermelon, diced cucumber, chopped cilantro, minced jalapeno pepper, and a squirt of lime juice for a delicious spin on salsa. I used one slice of watermelon, 1/2 of a cucumber, 1/4 cup of cilantro, half a jalapeno pepper and the juice from half of a lime for this bowl of salsa. You can serve it along with grilled meats, scoop it with chips or just eat it as a salsa “salad”. Very refreshing.

WATERMELON AND CUCUMBER SALAD

This tasted so good and it doesn’t take a lot of ingredients but packs a mouthful of flavor. Add chopped watermelon to a bed of peppery arugula and sprinkle with feta cheese. I added a balsamic vinaigrette to finish it off. Pine nuts would taste great sprinkled on the salad too.

Watermelon should always be washed before serving, in fact, any fruit or vegetable that you cut with a knife should always be washed before cutting because even if you aren’t eating the rind or outer peel, once the knife touches it, it can contaminate the inner flesh if not washed.

WASTE NOT, WANT NOT

Did you know that the entire watermelon is edible, even the rind? In places like China, the watermelon is stir-fried, stewed and pickled.

I simply cut up the rind, heated up some olive oil and stir-fried the watermelon rind till it was tender crisp, than sprinkled it with some kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper….it was good!

SEEDS

And you can roast the seeds of a watermelon.

  1. Remove watermelon seeds with a spoon, scooping as little of the pulp as possible.

  2. Wash the pulp and juice off the seeds and soak seeds in salted water for a couple of hours.

  3. Pour the salted water and seeds into a colander, drain and place the seeds on a paper towel to dry. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

  4. Transfer the washed and dried seeds to a shallow glass baking dish in a single layer on the bottom of the dish. Using a pastry brush, coat the seeds with olive oil.

  5. Sprinkle a small amount of sea or kosher salt and any spices you like evenly over the seeds.

  6. Bake for 40 minutes. Increase the temperature to 350 degrees and roast for an additional 15 minutes.

  7. When done, pour the seeds onto a paper towel where they can cool and have excess oil absorbed.

Did you know…Watermelon can be considered a fruit or vegetable!

For more information and recipes, check out http://www.watermelon.org And be sure to click on their “freebies” section where you can get free things like stickers, posters and coloring books.



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