Welcome warm weather with watermelon

This sweet, nutritious treat is a versatile addition to summertime snacks, salads and entrees

Summertime warm weather has arrived, and that can mean only one thing — it’s time for watermelon.

Sweet and juicy, it is a refreshing treat and a delightful accompaniment to grilled foods like brats and burgers.

But watermelon can be much more. Toss it in salads and smoothies for a tasty snack, or use it as a dessert. Top lemon yogurt with watermelon cubes, grill a few slices to caramelize the natural sugars or blend watermelon and sugar for a homemade sorbet.

Watermelon makes a delicious salsa, and i s a cool addition to salads, vinaigrettes and sauces.

Make watermelon juice by pureeing it in a blender or food processor, then pressing it through a sieve to remove the solids. Serve the juice cold or freeze it into cubes to add to beverages or water.

If you’ve been out sweating in the sun, eating watermelon is a good way to make sure you remain hydrated, since watermelon is about 92% water.

But there’s more to watermelon than just water. Two cups of watermelon chunks contain 25% of the daily requirement of vitamin A and 30% of vitamin C. It also contains B6, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium.

It’s also a good source of lycopene, containing more of it than tomatoes. Watermelon also is low or free of cholesterol, fat and sodium.

Watermelons, cousins to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash, are the most-consumed melon in the U.S., followed by cantaloupe and honeydew, according to the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

When picking a watermelon, look for a firm, symmetrical melon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents. It should be heavy for its size, and the underside should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.

The FDA recommends washing watermelons in clean, running water before cutting them.

Following are recipes featuring watermelon from www.eatthis.com.

 

eatthis.com

 

 

Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad

 

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts

3 teaspoons all-purpose seasoning

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cups baby spinach or greens

2 cups cubed watermelon

1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles

1/4 cup sliced or crushed almonds

 

Pour balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until vinegar is significantly reduced and starting to become syrupy.

Heat a grill or nonstick skillet to high heat. Sprinkle chicken with seasoning on both sides and drizzle with olive oil. Transfer to the hot grill and cook until no longer pink on the inside and nicely browned on the outside. Let rest five minutes, then cut into small cubes.

Layer spinach with the chicken, watermelon, blue cheese, almonds and drizzle with the balsamic reduction to taste. Top with additional olive oil if desired.

Makes four servings.

 

 

Zesty Grilled Shrimp Tacos With South of the Border Corn and Cotija Salsa

 

1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Juice and zest of 1 lime

2 cloves garlic, minced or grated

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup watermelon, diced

6 to 8 flour or corn tortillas, warmed

Quinoa or rice, for serving

Fresh cilantro and basil, chopped, for serving

For corn and cotija salsa:

1/2 cup Cotijia or feta cheese, crumbled

1 ear grilled corn, kernels removed

1 avocado, diced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

1/4 cup basil, chopped

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Juice of 1/2 lime

 

Place shrimp in a bowl, then add olive oil, juice and zest of lemon and lime, garlic, smoked paprika, chipotle chile powder, cumin and salt. Toss well and let the shrimp sit for 15 to 30 minutes.

In a bowl, combine Cotija cheese, corn, jalapeno, basil, cilantro and lime juice. Toss to combine. Gently stir in diced avocado. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

Heat a grill or grill pan to high. Thread shrimp on skewers if using an outdoor grill or use a grilling basket. Grill shrimp three to four minutes per side, until light char marks appear. Remove shrimp from the grill and, if desired, squeeze with a little lemon and lime juice. Sprinkle with basil and cilantro.

Spread a little quinoa or rice inside each warmed tortilla. Add watermelon and shrimp. Top with salad and garnish with cilantro.

Makes four servings.

 

 

Watermelon Lime Slushie

 

2 cups watermelon, cubed

1/2 cup strawberries

Juice of 1/2 lime

1/2 tablespoon agave, honey or other sweetener

1/2 cup coconut water

1 cup ice

 

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until it reaches slushie consistency.

Serve over more ice and garnish with mint, if desired.

Makes two servings.

 

 

 

Watermelon Salad With Basil-Ginger Dressing

 

For salad:

1 medium watermelon, cubed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch fine sea salt

1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1/3 cup feta cheese

1/4 small red onion, finely sliced

1 to 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped or chiffonade

4 strips cooked bacon, chopped, optional

For dressing:

1/4 cup fresh basil, not packed

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

 

Place cubed watermelon in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and sea salt.

In a small skillet over medium-low heat, toast almonds until golden, but not burned. Let cool.

If desired, fry bacon, then let cool.

Add sliced onion, bacon, feta, almonds, and mint leaves to watermelon.

In a blender, combine basil, water, honey and ginger until smooth. Drizzle over salad.

Serve immediately or refrigerate. Salad is best served within a few hours.

Makes six to eight servings.

 

 

 

Watermelon Blueberry Salsa

 

4 small Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/2 small onion, chopped

1 jalapeno, chopped (discard seeds for a milder salsa)

1 cup diced watermelon

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons lime juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Combine tomatoes, onion and jalapeno in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse briefly or until finely chopped. Do not fully liquefy.

Transfer mixture to a medium bowl, then stir in watermelon, blueberries, cilantro, lime juice and salt.

Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

Makes 2-1/2 cups.

 

 

 

 

Watermelon Margarita

 

12 to 18 watermelon chunks

3 ounces agave nectar

5 ounces water

6 ounces fresh lime juice

12 ounces blanco tequila

Ice

 

In a large pitcher, combine watermelon, agave nectar and water. Gently muddle.

Add fresh lime juice and tequila. Top with ice and stir.

Serve over fresh ice in a rocks glass.

Garnish with a lime wheel or watermelon chunk.

Makes six servings.

 

 

 

 

Chili Lime Watermelon

 

4 cups cubed watermelon

1 pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 lime, zested and juiced

3 tablespoons crumbled cotija cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

 

Place cubed watermelon in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and the chili powder (use more if desired). Toss well. Squeeze with lime juice and top with the lime zest.

Add crumbled Cotija cheese and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Makes two servings.

 

 

Watermelon Bacon Salad

 

4 cups watermelon, cubed

1 cup strawberries

1 ear corn, kernels sliced off

1/2 cup baby arugula

1/4 cup basil, chopped

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Salt

Pepper

2 pieces bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled

 

Combine watermelon, strawberries, corn kernels, arugula, basil, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss to combine.

Plate and sprinkle with bacon.

Makes four servings.

 

 

Watermelon and Kiwi Popsicle

 

5 cups watermelon, pureed

5 medium kiwi, peeled and sliced

 

Place watermelon in a blender and process until smooth. Place kiwi slices in popsicle mold, then fill wells of the mold with watermelon juice. Continue layering until wells are full. Insert popsicle stick and freeze until solid.

Makes 16 pops.

If your watermelon is lacking some sweetness, add one tablespoon agave syrup at a time to the mixture until preferred sweetness is reached.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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