Health & Wellness / Home & Family

Taking Advantage of Watermelon Season

watermelon-saladWatermelon is associated with the summer season, a time of year when the tasty melon is at its peak. Not only is watermelon easy to transport and serve, but it also can feed a hungry crowd at a picnic, barbecue, reunion, or gathering. While watermelon is delicious as a standalone treat, it can also be incorporated into menus with the addition of other ingredients to produce interesting dishes with a twist. Here are some watermelon facts and two of our most favorite and easy to prepare watermelon recipes:

Watermelon facts:
Watermelon is a flowering plant species of the Cucurbitaceae family. This widely cultivated fruit (and, yes, it is also considered a vegetable by some) was originally domesticated in Africa and has more than 1,000 varieties today. Healthline reports that eating watermelon is an excellent way to stay hydrated due to its high 92% water content. Additionally, watermelon contains fiber and is a low-calorie treat. Watermelon is a great source of vitamins and nutrients, including Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Potassium, Magnesium, and Vitamins B1, B5, and B6. Plus, this favorite fruit contains carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene, and has an important amino acid called citrulline which is converted into arginine in the body. Thus, eating this yummy fruit can provide lots of amazing health benefits. However, bear in mind that watermelon has a high glycemic index. Per Today, that term is associated with quick rises in blood sugar after food is consumed. Thus, folks with diabetes and other medical conditions should discuss their diet with their doctor.

Enjoy these two mouthwatering watermelon recipes:
Recipe One – Watermelon Caprese
Serves 4

1 small ripe seedless watermelon, sliced ½ inch thick (use fleshy part only & discard rind/skin)
1 mozzarella ball, sliced ½ inch thick
A handful of Fresh basil leaves, washed & dried & ready to use (basil leaves may be used whole or sliced)
Your favorite flaky sea salt (to taste)
Black pepper, freshly ground (to taste)
Your favorite Olive Oil (regular or extra-virgin)
Balsamic glaze

On a serving platter, alternate slices of watermelon and mozzarella in a circular pattern. Tuck whole basil or sliced basil leaves between the layers. Then, sprinkle top with flaky sea salt and black pepper to taste. Drizzle with some olive oil and balsamic glaze. Garnish with more whole basil leaves and serve immediately. Recipe can be easily doubled or tripled if desired.

Recipe Two – Watermelon Salad with Feta & Cucumber
Serves 4

3 cups of cubed ripe seedless watermelon (use fleshy part only & discard rind/skin)
1¼ cup English cucumber in small, quartered pieces with the skin intact (or use a standard cucumber, peeled & seeds discarded)
A handful of fresh mint leaves, washed & dried & ready to use
¼ cup of crumbled good quality feta cheese
3 Tablespoons of your favorite olive oil (regular or extra-virgin)
1 Tablespoon of fresh lime juice
Flaky sea salt (to taste)
Cracked black pepper (to taste)

Slice the mint leaves to equal 3 Tablespoons. Reserve some extra whole leaves. Place the watermelon cubes, cucumber slices, and sliced mint into a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk the olive oil with the lime juice and season with some salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the watermelon mixture and gently toss to coat. Then sprinkle feta cheese over top. Garnish with extra whole leaves of mint and serve immediately. Recipe can be easily doubled or tripled if desired.

Make-ahead tip: Recipes can be prepped slightly ahead, and ingredients kept cool. Assemble and add dressing just before serving.

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