In Season: Watermelon Galore!
6 watermelon recipes to help you cool down this summer
Who says you can't put watermelon into a main dish? This Halibut with Watermelon Salsa is delightfully simple, delightfully refreshing.
This time of year is perfect for picnics and other outdoor events, and few items make for better outdoor eating than melons. The melon industry has changed a bunch over the years. When I was a kid, watermelons were 25-pound monsters. Most watermelons sold today are seedless and much smaller varieties, bred to be "refrigerator-sized" and easier to harvest and transport. Recent changes in watermelon production and post-harvest handling have been positive — particularly in the last few years as a re-emphasis on flavor has brought back some great heirloom varieties or has greatly influenced the selection of new ones.
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Melons are a member of the Cucurbitaceous (or gourd) family — this is a very large and diverse family of plants that includes cucumbers, squash (winter and summer), and pumpkins. The most common melon varieties produced in the U.S. are musk melons (including cantaloupes), inodorous (or dew) melons, and watermelons.
It can be difficult to determine the inside condition of a melon from the outside, and out of all the melons, it is most difficult for watermelons because of the wide range of varieties. The "thumping method" is certainly the most entertaining (and widely used), but is not the most reliable in my experience. It goes like this: "If the melon sounds like your head, it is too green; if it sounds like your stomach, it's too ripe; if it sounds like your chest, it is just right." This system may or may not work for you.
Most watermelons will have two colors: a dark green with a lighter green or white secondary color. Most will also have a white spot where the melon was resting on the ground when it was growing. This is key because the rind of most watermelons will turn slightly yellow as the fruit ripens. So I look for that slightly yellow tinge and I am rarely disappointed. Of course the most reliable method is to ask your local produce team member to "plug" a melon for you (cut out a small triangle to see how it looks and tastes).
— James Parker, global associate perishables coordinator for Whole Foods Market
RECIPE | Fresh Watermelon Vinaigrette Dressing
Summer is almost here and that means HOT days (i’m in Texas, so we get our fair share), lots of outdoor activities and bikini season (EEK).
As I was thinking about all of the summer fun, I began to crave my go-to summer fruit… WATERMELON! Anyone else obsessed with watermelon as soon as the warm days start in?
I’m a sucker for watermelon anything, as long as it isn’t a fake watermelon flavor. I can’t stand fake fruit flavors. They just taste sugary and gross to me, so if I every come across something with cold-pressed fruit flavors, count me in!
One watermelon-flavored item that I can’t seem to find is salad dressing! A light vinaigrette dressing with a hint of fresh watermelon flavor sounded so good, especially tossed on some greens with feta, green onion and fresh veggies… #amiright?
I took a look at my normal go-to salad dressing brand, Tessemae’s to see if they had an option for me and they did not, though they did give me another idea! Sunflower seed oil!
The key to a good homemade vinaigrette dressing is finding an oil that won’t overpower the other flavors you’re trying to use in the recipe. Since fresh watermelon is a fairly light flavor, I didn’t want to use EVOO or olive oils as I find they have stronger taste profiles. So, I grabbed a bottle of my Tessemae’s Green Goddess dressing and looked at the label to see what oil was used and low and behold, it was sunflower seed oil!
I want to also note that this Fresh Watermelon Vinaigrette is a completely gluten free recipe, as well as a paleo and Whole30 approved dressing option! Woo hoo!
Recipe Servings // 24 2-tbls. servings
Macro Breakdown // 47 calories | 4.7g fat | 1.7g carbs | 0.1g protein
I N G R E D I E N T S //
- 1/2 cup Sunflower Seed Oil (I went with the refined option as I wasn’t wanting an intense amount of sunflower seed flavor)
- 1/2 cup Red Wine Vinager
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (I used about 2.5 lemons to get this amount)
- 2 tbls. roasted garlic (minced) or regular garlic would work too
- 1 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
- 1 tsp. garlic salt
- 2.5 cups of fresh watermelon (cut into small chunks)
- 1 tbls. fresh lemon pulp
I N S T R U C T I O N S //
- Measure out all the oil, vinegar, lemon juice and dry seasonings. Mix together thoroughly using a whisk and then set aside.
- Cut up your watermelon and add into a food processor, along with the lemon pulp and the 2 tbls. of garlic. Select the liquify option and blend all of those ingredients up until they look like juice.
- Last step is to add both the watermelon juice and the oil mixture together in a jar. Then you’re all set!
*NOTE: this is a vinaigrette and so they tend to separate. You will need to shake it up before use.
Now you are all set to go enjoy this delicious, low-calorie dressing on salads galore. So go grab yourself some fresh kale, fresh veggies, a block of feta cheese and GO.TO.TOWN!
Let me know what you think or if you have another dressing recipe I should check out, please share in the comments section!
When is watermelon season?
Although the watermelon season changes per state, the best time of the year to buy this fruit is between May and September because then it’s alternatively season in the four most important watermelon-growing states. You can find the right watermelon season for your state in the following chart. Florida has an early watermelon season, between April and July. Watermelon season in Georgia is between June and September. Texas has a long watermelon season between May and November. A couple of months later, California kicks in between July and November. If you like to purchase locally produced watermelons.
Watermelon is a fresh treat, a perfect dessert after a summer barbecue and above everything (you ladies!) a guilt-free pleasure, as it contains very few calories. We love to add it to our after gym smoothies and it’s also one of the most handsome fruits.
Watermelon season table
There are many ways to eat watermelons, add them to any salad, pickle them, spice them or make the easiest and healthiest pops. And they are great with fresh seafood too! Because it’s so easy to store them at home and because you can keep them in different ways for a while, they are a very easy fruit to upgrade almost any moment of the day (even the cocktail time).
We know it, it’s difficult to know which watermelon is in the perfect ripe. If you feel the ends are softer and if you can hear a dull sound by thumping it, it’s good to go. Enjoy it!
10 Things To Do With Watermelon
Say hello to one of the easiest summer party apps out there.
Chilled Watermelon Soup
A chunky soup that&aposs actually refreshing? Believe it!
Mexican Fruit Salad
Go a little crazy at the farmers&apos market this week? Put your bounty to good use with this Mexican-inspired snack or app.
No matter the question, margaritas are the answer.
Grilled Watermelon "Pizza"
Photography by Christopher Testani
Okay, so it&aposs not *really* pizza, but this quick dish is so tasty you won&apost even care.
"I loved the flavor, and this combination of great ingredients made for a perfect soup. I especially liked the jalapeno and honey in this."
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- Wash the watermelon. Cut it in half. With a spoon, scoop out chunks of watermelon and juice them in a juicer until you have ½ cup of juice. Alternatively, you can puree the chunks of watermelon in your blender until you have ½ cup of watermelon juice.
- Add the watermelon juice, vanilla, milk, cream, honey and optional salt to your blender.
- Blend on a lower setting just until smooth and combined, about 5 seconds. Be careful not to blend too long, you don&rsquot want a lot of air getting into the mixture. If any foam forms on the top of the mixture, remove it with a spoon and discard.
- Pour the liquid watermelon ice cream mixture into the ice cream maker.
- Turn the ice cream machine on and mix according to your ice cream maker&rsquos instructions.
- The ice cream will start to have a &ldquosoft serve&rdquo texture when it is done. This is my family&rsquos favorite way to eat it. If you prefer the ice cream to be a little firmer or need to serve it later, place it in the freezer to harden.
YOU WILL NEED: Juicer or Blender, Ice Cream Maker
- Dairy-Free Option: Substitute full-fat coconut milk for the dairy. I use this brand . it's organic, non-GMO and it's BPA free.
- I haven’t made this ice cream without an ice cream maker. If you freeze the liquid ice cream mixture in a container, it won’t set exactly the same or produce the same soft consistency, but you can try and freeze it and the put it into a food processor to soften it up a bit. You’ll probably need to set it out at room temperature first for about 15 minutes to let it soften a bit.
- I have not tried using vodka, but I have heard that alcohol does really help keep the texture softer when frozen.
- I’ve had success using gelatin (<-- this is the only brand I use and love), whisked into 1/4 cup boiling water, in the ice cream mixture. Like alcohol, it helps keep ice cream from getting rock hard.
5 Lip-Smacking Recipes For Watermelon Season In Israel
With summer just around the corner, Israel’s long-awaited watermelon season has begun.
Technically a vegetable, watermelon was first grown in northern Africa 5,000 years ago and is mentioned in the Bible as a staple of the Egyptian diet. Ancient watermelons probably weren’t very sweet. A Byzantine mosaic uncovered in Israel, dated from 425 CE, depicts a cut watermelon with yellow-orange flesh. Over time, they became redder as they were bred to be sweeter, because redness and sweetness are genetically paired.
The redder the melon, the more healthful beta-carotene it contains. Despite containing mostly water, watermelon also is a good source of phenolic antioxidants, flavonoids, lycopene and vitamins A and C.
According to the Plant Production and Marketing Board of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture, the average Israeli consumes 26 pounds (12 kilos) of watermelon each year. The average American eats 16 pounds per year.
Approximately 100 Israeli watermelon growers – mainly in the Arava desert, the Jordan Rift Valley and the Lower and Western Galilee – sell about 100,000 tons of their crops annually. Seedless varieties developed by Israeli researchers are especially popular.
Choosing a quality watermelon is usually a guessing game of sniffing, inspecting, or poking. Last summer, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology students Salah Abd Alhalem, Adam Garah and Ayman Sarha’an decided to be scientific about it.
They developed a prototype sensor-and-smartphone device that photographs a watermelon from three angles, uses an algorithm to analyze its external properties, and predicts a flavor rating between 1 (atrocious) and 5 (divine). The computer-science students determined that a watermelon’s tone, color, stripe patterns, shape, and size of the circle at the bottom all help determine its taste.
Once you buy your watermelon, you can simply slice it and enjoy a cool snack. But you can also use watermelon to add a refreshing kick to cocktails, cold soups, salads, and more.
1) Red Drum Tartare with Watermelon Salsa and Watermelon-Ginger Granita (4 servings)
- 80 grams (3 oz.) watermelon, cut into small cubes
- 50 grams ginger
- 200 grams (1 cup) watermelon, cubed
- Handful chopped mint leaves
- ¼ teaspoon hot pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 100 grams (3.5 oz.) fresh, boneless red drum cut into small cubes
- Zest from ½ lemon
- ½ teaspoon sumac
- Peel of 1 cucumber, cut into small squares
- 1 teaspoon coriander, chopped
- A pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- White spreadable cheese such as ricotta or feta
- toast fingers
For the watermelon granita, puree the 80g watermelon and ginger filter well into a bowl and freeze until you get ice. Scrape the ice with a spoon or shred in a blender and keep in the freezer.
For the watermelon salsa, mix together 200g watermelon cubes, chopped mint, hot pepper, fresh lemon juice and soy sauce. Refrigerate for about an hour.
Mix the fish with lemon zest, sumac, cucumber peel, coriander, salt and olive oil.
In four martini cups, divide the watermelon salsa. Top with a thin layer of cream cheese and then the fish tartare to the level of about 1½ cups in each. Top with a spoonful of chilled watermelon ice and garnish with the toast fingers.
2) Cold Watermelon Soup (6 servings)
- 1 beetroot, cooked and peeled
- 4.5 pounds (2 kilo) watermelon (about ½ a small watermelon), rind removed
- 2 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar, honey or silan (date honey)
- Salt and white pepper
- Lemon zest and olive oil for garnish
Puree beetroot in a food processor. Add watermelon, avocado, vinegar, sweetener, salt and pepper puree until smooth. Strain into a bowl to make sure there are no chunks. Chill at least two hours before serving. Serve cold garnished with a sprinkling of olive oil and lemon zest.
3) Watermelon Vinaigrette with Green Beans and Peaches (4 servings)
- 5 pitted peaches
- 200 grams (1 cup) fresh green beans, cooked in water about 10 minutes
- 150 grams (2/3 cup) shelled sliced almonds
- 2 cups cubed watermelon
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
Puree watermelon cubes in a food processor until they reach a uniform texture. Add the remaining vinaigrette ingredients and mix well. Slice the peaches into rounds and arrange on a serving platter. Cool the cooked beans briefly in ice water. Drain and add to the platter. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad, sprinkle with almonds and serve.
4) Watermelon and Star Anise Jam
- 1 kg. (2.2 lb.) watermelon
- 500 grams (17.5 oz.) apples
- 1½ lemons
- 6 star anise fruits
- 750 grams (26 oz.) sugar
Clean, wash, and cube the watermelon and the apples. Sprinkle the apple with the juice of 1 lemon. Put the watermelon and apples in a deep, wide pan add sugar, remaining lemon juice, and star anise. Cook until it thickens.
Pour the jam in hot jars (previously heated to 100°C/212°F for 30 minutes) and close well. Turn the jars upside down for about 5 minutes, and then turn them back so the jam cools gradually.
5) Refreshing Summer Watermelon Soup (10 servings)
- 1 whole red watermelon
- 2 tablespoons mint leaves, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon peeled and chopped fresh ginger
- A handful of ice cubes
Remove the watermelon from the rind and cut into coarse bits. Place the watermelon, ginger, sugar, lemon juice, mint, and water into a food processor. Puree for about 2 minutes until smooth.
Watermelons range in size, with the largest known watermelon weighing in at over 200 pounds. In contrast, the Personal watermelon's trademark value is that it conveniently fits in the refrigerator and can be eaten with little waste. Like other watermelons, Personal watermelons are of the species, Citrullus lanatus. Most varieties of Personal watermelon have a red flesh and are designed to be seedless, although they may contain trace amounts of small edible white seeds. Other common names include Icebox watermelon, Palm melon and One Meal melon. There are currently over fifty different Personal watermelon varieties being cultivated.
Like many watermelon varieties, the Personal watermelon is renowned for its hydrating properties, comprised of nearly 90 percent water. They also contain vitamins A, C and B-complex group, iron, fiber and the amino acid Arginine which has been shown to boost metabolism. They contain rich supplies of potassium which helps prevent sore muscles and lycopene known for antioxidant benefits.
The Watermelon is believed to have originally grown wild in the warm regions of tropical and subtropical Africa where it was an important source of water and sustenance. Seeds, leaves and paintings depicting watermelons dating back 5,000 years have been discovered in excavation of Egyptian tombs. Watermelon made its way to the Americas via African slaves and European colonists. Colonial records show that Watermelon was grown in Florida as early as the sixteenth century. The Watermelon is widely distributed throughout Africa, Asia and the Americas. The Watermelon fruit grows on trailing vines and prefers hot dry climates during the summer months.
Recipes that include Watermelon. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Gluten Free Easily||Watermelon Sherbet (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free)|
|Shutterbean||Thai Watermelon, Salad|
|Ma Recipes||Watermelon Punch with Orange and Sweet Lemon- Non Alcoholic!|
|Fat Free Vegan Kitchen||Watermelon Rind Preserves|
|Love & Lemons||Spicy Watermelon Avocado Salad|
|(Mis)Adventures With Food||Toasted Watermelon Seeds|
|Viet World Kitchen||Thai Melon Salad|
|The Perfect Pantry||Mango, Watermelon and Tomato Salsa Fresca|
|The Musing Bouche||Watermelon Rind Pickles|
Watermelons are juicy, water-rich fruit dotted with black seeds. Discover how to buy the best watermelons, plus how to prepare and serve them.
What is watermelon?
Thought to have originated in Africa, watermelons are distinct from musk melons such as cantaloupes, ogens, charantais, galia and honeydew in that they are very watery and have a far less intense flavour. But there are compensations – they can grow to up to six kilos in weight, and their crisp, sweet flesh is phenomenally juicy and refreshing.
Watermelons have a hard green, sometimes striped, rind (which is sometimes used to make pickle) and, inside, the pink or red flesh is dotted with black seeds, which can be toasted and eaten as a snack. The flesh itself is always served raw.
They are imported all year round, but are at their best from mid June to late August.
Choose the best
Ripe melons should sound hollow when shaken or slapped, and feel heavy for their size. The rind should be dull and shouldn’t give much when pressed. Look for symmetrical melons and avoid those with cracked, spotted or bruised rinds. As they’re often so big, melons are frequently sold halved or quartered, as well as whole. If buying cut melon, look for brightly coloured flesh and black (rather than small white) seeds. Avoid flesh that looks dry or grainy. Green-skinned, red-fleshed watermelons are the most commonly available, but you can also find golden watermelons, which have a bright yellow flesh, though their flavour can be insipid.
Cut in half whichever way you like, then scoop out the seeds, together with any fibrous bits, with a spoon, then slice into wedges.
If you can fit it in, keep watermelon in the fridge – it should last for up to a week. Otherwise, keep it in the coolest place that you can find. Cut watermelon should always be stored in the fridge, wrapped in clingfilm. Eat within 2-3 days.
Watermelon is great cut into wedges chopped and add to fruit salads with feta and mint for a sour/sweet salad. Juice.