Once upon a time, in a land far far away lived a melon whose juice was not only the most thirst quenching, but legend has it, this same melon contained rejuvenating qualities. It is said that this melon, “watermelon” contains the equivalent to one full glass of juice in 1 slice. In addition to those amazing facts , watermelon also contains very low sodium, no fat, is rich in potassium, potent antioxidant powers, vitamin A, C, and B6. According to the South Carolina Watermelon board, watermelon carries the same hydration effects of sports drinks, which electrolytes lost during exercise. And all that goodness from a whole food. (go figure) .
In my experience I find that watermelon works well with plenty of combinations. The red juicy flesh can be enjoyed raw (as is), just as well as it can be tossed cheese, herbs, and complimentary veggies. One of the hugest benefits to using watermelon is it can be consumed from rind to flesh! The rind itself can be pickled, grilled, & sautéed. With all of those great benefits, it’s hard not to go mad over watermelon. With all that said, go experiment! Here are a few recipes to add to your repertoire.Give them a try and let me know how it goes.
Chef Will Hall
Watermelon, Grape, and Tomato Salad
30 minutes or fewer
Refreshing and light, this main-course salad graces a hot summer meal with its tangy yet sweet tones. Add or subtract melon, grapes, and tomatoes as you please, adjusting the vinegar accordingly. For an attractive variation, use a melon baller to prepare the watermelon.
3 cups cubed or balled watermelon, seeds removed
2 cups seedless green grapes, rinsed
½ red bell pepper, seeded and cubed
1 bunch Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
1 large yellow tomato, chopped
1 large red or orange tomato
4 oz. crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar, or to taste
Combine all ingredients, toss and serve.
Pickled Watermelon Rind
Servings: 3 quarts
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 40 min
4 quarts watermelon rind (whites part only), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup kosher salt
2 gallons of water, divided
3 cups white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon whole, assorted color peppercorns
7 cups sugar
3 (1 quart) Canning jars with lids
In a large bowl or pot, stir salt into one gallon of water until dissolved. Add watermelon rinds and let sit overnight.
Drain off water and thoroughly rinse rinds. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook watermelon rinds with remaining one gallon of water. Cook the rinds until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. Return the saucepan to heat and add vinegar, sugar and spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add watermelon rinds and cook until transparent, about another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Sterilize jars and lids directly before using for 10 minutes in simmering water or in the dishwasher. Remove one at a time when ready to fill. While rinds are still hot, use a slotted spoon to transfer into the hot sterilized jars. Pour vinegar solution over rinds, filling to within 1/4 inch of the top. Wipe rims with a clean damp cloth and seal jars with lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath (making sure water level is 1 inch over the top of the jars) for 10 minutes. Remove from water bath and allow to cool on the counter overnight.
Dean, P. (2010, 08). Pickled watermelon rind. Retrieved from http://www.pauladeen.com/recipes/view2/pickled_watermelon_rind/
South Carolina watermelon board health and nutrition. (2013). Retrieved from http://agriculture.sc.gov/Watermelon/Health
Watermelon, grape, and tomato salad. (2010, 08). Retrieved from http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/watermelon-grape-and-tomato-salad/