Food

Slice of Life: What a Melon!

June 16, 2014

wmelon_lifeIf my son were a southern belle he’d be having the vapors about now because he just discovered that his favorite fruit, the watermelon, is also a vegetable.

Yes, this is the same mench who I’m trying to convince needs to sign up for Jdate, whose culinary light bulb moment when he was 16 was “Hey mom, did you know that pickles are made from cucumbers???”

I’m amazed he ever learned to cook what with these food factoids constantly bopping him in the head. Seriously though—he’s handsome, single, got a great job and well, I’m a Jewish mom so email me if you’ve got a single daughter on the West Coast. :)

So back to the watermelon. To clarify, the watermelon is a fruit because it grows from a seed, and it is a vegetable because it’s grown on a vine and is a member of the same family as the pumpkin and squash. This sweet treat doesn’t contain fat or cholesterol, is high in fiber and chock full of vitamins A, B6 & C. Oh, and did I mention that it’s also a great source of potassium?

Watermelons are low in calories (its makeup is between 8% sugar and the 92% water) so it’s actually a great food to eat if you’re trying to lose weight. When picking your watermelon look for symmetry, no bruising or soft spots. It should have a firm rind/skin and a dull yellow spot on the bottom where it sat on the ground (the yellow spot should not be soft). The old wives tale about thumping your melon to see if it’s ripe is actually true so thump away.

Cutting and eating a watermelon is easy. The cooking aspects of a watermelon are pretty much limited to drinks, salads, fruit soups and well, that’s about it. Don’t be sad, with the goal of cooking with watermelon as user friendly as possible I have collected a bunch of awesome, easy, fun and delicious watermelon dishes you can whip up in about 10 minutes. I typically use seedless watermelons when I’m combining it with other ingredients as opposed to the ones with seeds I need to pick out. Both the seeded and seedless watermelons are delicious and in a blind taste test you wouldn’t be able to taste the difference. FYI seedless watermelons are NOT genetically modified they are just hybrids.

WATERMELON COOLER (pareve)

3 cups cubed seedless watermelon, well chilled
1 1/2 fresh limes, juiced
1/4 cup rum (optional)
Sugar, to taste

Put watermelon chunks, rum (if using) and lime juice into a blender. Process until smooth. Add sugar to taste, process until combined. Fill 2 glasses with ice and pour the cooler over the ice. Serves 2.

My files, source unknown.

WATERMELON SALSA WITH FETA (dairy or pareve)

1 avocado, chopped
2 cup cubed watermelon, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional if you want this recipe to be pareve)
the juice of 1 lime

In a bowl combine watermelon, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, avocado and lime juice. Sprinkle with a little salt and gently mix to combine. Top with the crumbled feta cheese. Serve with chips, tortilla chips or crackers. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Submitted by Angela Racier Indianapolis, IN.

WATERMELON SALAD (dairy or pareve)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
4 cups small watermelon
4 oranges, peeled and sectioned and cut in half
4 thin red onion slices, cut in half
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
Sunflower seeds

In a jar with a lid combine the lemon juice, orange juice, mustard, orange peel, sugar and olive oil. Shake to combine. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Cover and shake to combine. Divide the lettuce between 6 to 8 plates then top the lettuce with the watermelon, orange pieces, cheese, onion slices, parsley and sunflower seeds Drizzle the salads with dressing and serve. Serves 6 to 8

Modified from yummly.com.

WATERMELON LEMONADE (pareve)

8 cups seeded watermelon cut into chunks
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
2 cups water (approximately)
Small/Thin watermelon wedges for decoration

In a food processor combine the watermelon, strawberries, and sugar and process until blended and smooth. Strain the liquid through a fine strainer into a pitcher. Add the lemon juice and enough of the water to make 1 1/2 quarts. Mix to combine and refrigerate for at least 3 hours for the flavors to meld and the drink to get really cold. To serve pour the lemonade over ice. Makes 1 1/2 quarts (serves 6 to 8 depending on the size of the serving).

My file, source unknown

RASPBERRY WATERMELON SALAD (pareve)

1 tablespoon chopped onion
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, pureed and strained
2 teaspoons honey
1/3 cup olive oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
6 cups spring green salad mix or 3 cups spinach and 3 cups lettuce combined
8 cups watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and pepper
Toasted chopped pecans

In a bowl combine the onion, vinegar, raspberry puree, honey and oil and whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In large bowl combine the onion rings and dressing. Mix to coat, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Divide the lettuce between 6 to 8 plates. Top the lettuce with the cubed and divide the onion rings between the plates topping the watermelon with the onions. Sprinkle with toasted pecans and then drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette. Serves 6 to 8

Modified from epicurious.com

WATERMELON SLAW (pareve)

4 to 5 cups small cubed watermelon pieces
2 cups shredded jicama
1 cup shredded cubed carrots
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
1 cup diced yellow or green bell peppers
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (don’t use pre-squeezed, it’s icky)
Scant 1/4 cup olive oil
kosher salt to taste
1 cup toasted slivered almonds

In a large glass bowl combine all the ingredients EXCEPT the toasted almonds and mix to combine. Sprinkle the toasted almonds on the top and serve. Serves 6 to 8
My files source unknown.

© Eileen Goltz watermelon 14a