Happily Spitting Watermelon Seeds
As many of you know, I love summer and the relaxed vibe it brings to our daily lives. There are many reasons that run the gamut, but the things I love most about this time of year is the produce. Sure, I love late sunsets, sultry breezes, afternoon thunderstorms and swimming outdoors, but it's the brilliant colors and perfumes of tomatoes, berries, cucumbers, basil and watermelon that make all that humidity worthwhile.
Speaking of watermelon, it has arrived at local markets. This weekend, I picked up a baby beauty, with a gorgeous yellow flesh, nearly the color of a daffodil. And how sweet it is! To me, there is nothing like slurping on a hunk of watermelon. It makes me feel like a kid, racing to eat the flesh down to the rind before it drips all over my clothes.
If you're up for a little experimentation, take that melon on a savory route. Botanically speaking, the watermelon is really a vegetable, as a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, sibling to the cucumber and squash.
Try a few of these ideas on for size:
Add basil or mint to watermelon chunks, or perhaps red onion, cucumber, even a sliced chili pepper. Greens such as arugula or watercress, or thinly sliced fennel are also lovely watermelon partners. A squeeze of lime on top adds a tropical spritz that takes me elsewhere for a few minutes.
Outside of the produce world, consider teaming it up with a smidge of cheese -- be it feta or a hunk of chevre.
If none of these savory ideas appeal, consider pureeing a hunk of watermelon and making a soup or freezing into fab popsicles.
Nutritionally, the watermelon is high in water content, which makes it an important source of water in Africa. Next time you spit out the seeds, remember that they are considered a valuable source of plant fat and eaten as snacks in Nigeria. Its beautiful color also serves an important role -- as antioxidant donor-- serving up large doses of lycopene or betacarotene, depending on the color of the flesh.
Got a favorite way to eat watermelon? Better share with the class!
Even bloggers need to take a break. So that's what I'm doing. By the time you read this, I'll be laying prostrate on a yoga mat in the Berkshires. I am praying for spotty cell phone service. In the interim, washingtonpost.com Food and Dining editor Erin Hartigan will be guest blogging for a few days, and I'll resurface from yogic bliss on Friday, with a nirvana report.
Also coming up: As soon as I return to Washington, I'll board another plane, bound for Oakland, Calif. My fellow road tripper and I will drive south a wee bit until we arrive in Gilroy, known as the garlic capital of the world. I'll arrive just in time for the 28th annual Garlic Festival. Stay tuned for that wacky dispatch.
Now I'm really out of here...
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