This Month’s Superfood: Watermelon!
Watermelon is one of my favorite summer fruits because it hydrates, packs some powerful nutrients AND detoxifies our bodies! What makes watermelon a Superfood?
• It’s rich in vitamins A and C
• Provides an excellent source of beta-carotene and lycopene. Lycopene is what gives watermelon its deep red coloring; but the nutrient is also well-known as a cancer-fighting agent. It helps keep cell membranes strong, which in turn helps keep toxins from entering cells.
• Safeguards our eyes/vision. Watermelon contains lutein and zeaxanthin, potent antioxidants that are found naturally in our eyes. Researchers believe that the combination of these two antioxidants protects against several types of ultraviolet rays and many age-related eye diseases, including cataracts.
• Protects against a variety of cancers, including breast, prostate, colon, and lung, among others.
• Reduces inflammation and water retention; is a natural anti-depressant; boosts the immune system, and aids in weight loss.
• But wait, there’s more! You can even use the rind and the black seeds in your juicing! The rind is an excellent source of chlorophyll and the seeds are known to help relax the body, lower blood pressure and provide immune-boosting zinc and iron! (Make sure you rinse the rind very well before using.) This is truly a holistic, healing fruit!
That’s just about everything you ever wanted to know about watermelons … except: how do you determine from the outside how to pick out a watermelon that’s sweet and ripe on the inside? It’s easy if you know what to look for!
• First, choose a watermelon that feels heavy for its size. The water content of the melon increases as it ripens, and water adds weight.
• Next, examine the rind carefully, both top and bottom. The rind should be smooth and the top should be sort of dull compared to the rest of the rind. The bottom, which is where the watermelon rested on the ground as it was growing, should be a creamy yellow. If it is white or green, it’s probably not ripe yet.
• You can thump the watermelon if you like, but not everyone agrees that this helps determine ripeness. Those who do thump say to listen for a deep, hollow, bass sound rather than a shallow, higher sound.
Watermelon & Feta Salad with Serrano Chile Vinaigrette
From Athens, Georgia chef, Hugh Acheson
½ to 1 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp champagne vinegar
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 small shallot, minced
1 Serrano chili pepper, stemmed and sliced or chopped
Salt to taste
1 small seedless watermelon
1/3 lb block of feta cheese, sliced into 1/8″ slices (about 12 slices) *optional
1 bunch arugula, washed and drained
In a jar or salad bottle with a tight-fitting lid, combine olive oil, lime juice, champagne vinegar, thyme, shallot, and Serrano pepper. Shake well. Season dressing with salt to taste; chill in refrigerator. Meanwhile, slice watermelon into 3″ squares, about ¼-inch thick. On small salad plates, begin to assemble each serving of the salad. To assemble, place one slice of watermelon on the plate; next, layer one slice of feta on top of the first watermelon slice. Repeat, layering another watermelon slice and then one more feta slice. End with a final watermelon slice on top. Place about one handful of arugula on the plate, encircling the stacked watermelon/feta. Drizzle the stack and the arugula with the vinaigrette and garnish with a few slices of Serrano pepper. Chill for 15 minutes or serve immediately.
*For those of you who don’t eat dairy, the salad is also delicious without the feta.
From Eating Well Magazine Serves 6
8 cups finely diced seedless watermelon, (about 6 pounds)
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 Tbsp minced shallot
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp sea salt or to taste
Mix watermelon, cucumber, bell pepper, basil, parsley, vinegar, shallot, oil and salt in a large bowl. Puree 3 cups of the mixture in a blender or food processor to the desired smoothness; transfer to another large bowl. Puree another 3 cups and add to the bowl. Stir in the remaining diced mixture. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
From Island Jane Magazine andNourishingMeals.com
Try these healthy popsicles and feel like a kid again!
3 cups watermelon puree (about 1/4 to 1/2 a watermelon)
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
1 peach or nectarine, diced small
1 handful of fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
Cut the watermelon into chunks and then puree it in a blender until smooth. Set aside. Set out a dozen popsicle molds and make sure they are sturdy (you may need additional or fewer molds, depending on their size). Fill each mold with the chopped fresh fruit. Add a slice of kiwi and a few blueberries to each mold. Then pour in the watermelon puree until each mold is full to the top. Place a popsicle stick into each filled mold. Place the molds in your freezer (again ensuring that they are sturdy) and freeze for 6 to 8 hours. To release popsicle, run the mold under warm water for a few seconds and pull each one out.
1 cup watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 peeled and sliced cucumber
5 mint leaves
½ cup ice
Mix all ingredients in a high-powered blender (such as a Vitamix ). Blend on low 30 seconds, then on high until smooth, about 30 seconds more. Pour into individual glasses and garnish each glass with a mint leaf. Serve cold.