Ahh, summer time, and the living is easy…and local farmers’ markets and produce departments are awash in watermelon, my favorite summertime treat. (Well, along with sweet corn, tomatoes, fresh peas and green beans, my hub’s homemade ice cream and Leinenkugel’s summer shandy. Don’t judge me.)
It’s easy to love this rosy fruit for its sweet taste and refreshing juiciness, but the National Watermelon Promotion Board (who knew? but how awesome!) says watermelon is highly worthy for its nutritional value. It provides more of the cancer-fighting, heart-disease-preventing antioxidant lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable. Watermelon also has excellent levels of vitamins A and C and a good level of vitamin B6, the board says, and it’s a great source of hydration on hot summer days.
To pick a sweet, succulent watermelon, NWPB advises looking for a firm, symmetrical fruit free of bruises, cuts or dents. The heavier, the better; that means it holds a high level of thirst-quenching water. And be sure the melon has a yellow patch on one side from where it sat on the ground while ripening in the sun.
If you’re skilled with a knife, a section of the NWPB website shows how you can even have fun carving your watermelon into Spiderman’s face, Lego blocks, penguins, floral displays and more. If you’re like me, though, and view such activities as an unnecessary delay in indulging your watermelon lust, simply carve your fruit into slices or chunks and fill your face. And if you’re even more like me and have a lovely mint plant growing on the back patio, try this tasty recipe from Prevention.com. You can find a jillion more watermelon recipes (watermelon champagne sangria and kung pao watermelon shrimp, anyone?) on the NWPB website here.
Watermelon and feta with honey and mint
- 3 cups watermelon, sliced
- 3 ounces feta, sliced or roughly crumbled
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves (or to taste)
Layer watermelon and feta on a serving plate. Drizzle the honey and sprinkle the mint on top; serve.
Nutrition info per one of four servings: 115 calories; 4g protein; 16g carbohydrates; 1g fiber; 4.5g fat; 239mg sodium