21 June 2013

Fun with watermelon

When I was a kid, I loved watermelon.  We never did anything exciting with it--just cut it up and ate it on the back porch, sticky juice dripping everywhere (come to think of it, my mom was pretty smart for not letting us in the house until we were finished).  As a single adult, I never bought it, because the thought of going through a whole watermelon was daunting.  And they never seemed all that cheap in my urban-ish grocery stores, anyway.  As a married lady, I can always hand remaining watermelon to my husband, who serves so many functions in the household, but human garbage disposal is definitely at the top of the list when leftovers are getting old (thanks, honey).  But somehow I had gotten over watermelon from my years off the stuff, and I sort of assumed it was just a childish treat without much nutritional importance, anyway.  I was dead wrong about that: the stuff is loaded with vitamins A & C, potassium, and lycopene.  It's also loaded with sugar, but it's still better for you than beer.

In dry, dusty Colorado, watermelon is thirst-quenching, cold, and refreshing, and it's also cheap out here in the sticks, living near so many farms that grow the stuff.  So, I'm bringing watermelon back to the table this summer.  This may not be revolutionary to those of you who have been loyal to this old friend all along, but perhaps my little experiments will find their way to your tables, too.

Cucumber and Watermelon Salad

I know, why didn't I think of it sooner?

Serves 4

1 pound cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced into thin half-circles
3 cups chunked watermelon
1/4 of a red onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Combine all ingredients and serve immediately.

Watermelon and Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic

Loosely adapted from Louisa Shafia's New Persian Kitchen, this is a clever way to incorporate that daily dose of apple cider vinegar we're all supposed to be drinking every day.

Serves 2

1 cup water
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups chopped watermelon
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  Drink immediately.

Watermelon and Tomato Salad

Wonderfully weird, and totally perfect.

Serves 4

2 cups fresh tomato, chopped
2 cups fresh watermelon, chopped
6 large basil leaves, chiffonaded
tablespoon lime juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and serve immediately.