Friday, August 3, 2012

National Watermelon Day – Friday August 3rd

Today is National Watermelon Day.  Nothing says summer time like watermelon.  Here are a couple of recipes for this holiday and some tips on picking out that melon and storing it:

  • Look for symmetrical unblemished melons, without flat sides, that have a creamy yellow spot on the bottom indicating ripeness.
  • At 92% water, this fruit should feel heavy when you left it.
  • Precut melon flesh should be dense, firm and appear moist.  Don’t be afraid to poke it.
  • It will store in the refrigerator for up to a week or keep in a cool, dark spot. Cover the cut surface of melon with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

You can serve it plain (I like mine with a little Kosher salt on it to bring out the sweetness) or you can make a simple sweet salad with it.  It is always a safe bet for any gathering or pot luck.  I have a vintage very sharp melonballer that I picked up at an auction with a bunch of kitchen utensils that I love for just such a salad.  

But today I thought I’d give you something a little different to do with that left over watermelon you might have. 

Watermelon Salad

½ cup halved, thinly sliced green onions
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 ½ quarts seedless, cubed or balled watermelon
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup pitted black olive halves
1 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons olive oil

Chop your green onions and add lime juice.  Add the watermelon cubes, feta cheese, black olives, and mint. Drizzle olive oil over it all, and toss to blend.  It is a beautiful looking and tasting salad.

Watermelon Gazpacho

I gave you some cold soups this week and here is another to add to them. 

8 cups finely diced seedless watermelon
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 small unpeeled and finely chopped cucumber
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt

Mix watermelon, cucumber, basil, parsley, vinegar, shallot, oil and salt in a large bowl. Puree 3 cups of the mixture in a blender or food processor to the desired smoothness; transfer to another large bowl. Puree another 3 cups and add to the bowl. Stir in the remaining diced mixture. Serve at room temperature or chilled.  To make a nice presentation, serve it in half of the scooped out melon.

Watermelon Salsa

2 cups seeded and coarsely chopped watermelon
2 tablespoons chopped onion
3 tablespoons seeded, chopped Anaheim chili
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon garlic salt

In a serving bowl, mix together the watermelon, onion, and chili pepper. Season with balsamic vinegar and garlic salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour to blend flavors.  If you would like a little more heat you can add some chili flakes.

Watermelon Lemonade

½  cup white sugar
½ cup water
4 cups cubed watermelon
3 cups cold water
½ cup fresh lemon juice
6 cups ice cubes

Place the watermelon into a blender. Cover and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.

Bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves for about 5 minutes.  You are making sugar syrup.  Remove from heat. Stir in 3 cups of cold water and the lemon juice.  Just before you wish to serve, pour your lemonade into a large pitcher and add your watermelon puree.  Add ice cubes to chill.  Gently stir before serving.

I thought I would also share some watermelon art I have shared or seen on FB in the past that is a little different than those baskets you see.  They are some great ideas for a shower or party if you can carve a watermelon.  Get out the pumpkin carving equipment and toothpicks.  They are all pretty simple cuts. 

Great for a baby shower

Enjoy your watermelon and stay cool.  Be happy and may God bless you and yours. 

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