Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Farmer's Market: Watermelon!

Yes, it's that time of year again, when watermelons are bursting forth from home gardens, farmer's markets, and roadside stands. Take advantage of it!

Watermelon is wonderful for your health. Most people think of it as just water, but in fact watermelon contains a wealth of nutrients. It has the highest concentration of lycopene (a powerful antioxidant) of any fruit or vegetable. It contains the amino acids arginine and citruline, which promote cardiovascular health. It's an excellent source of vitamins A, C, B6, and potassium. A generous two-cup of juicy, sweet, filling watermelon has only 80 calories but NO fat, one gram of fiber and one gram of protein. It also provides 4% of the RDA of iron. And it IS hydrating, too! What's more refreshing than an icy cold wedge of watermelon on a hot summer day?

But what about those times when you cut into your big, beautiful watermelon only to find a mushy mess? You cut a wedge, take a bite, and the texture is just... mealy. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it can leave you with a feeling of disappointment and guilt (for throwing it out, or eating it even though the texture is gross). What to do?

Juice it! I learned this little trick last year when I was trying to figure out what to do with a huge mushy melon. You don't even need a juicer... just a blender or a food processor.

Cut your melon open and scoop out the pink flesh into a blender. (Do several batches for a big melon). Then just puree the watermelon until it is smooth (yes you can leave the seeds in)... just puree for about 10 seconds. Then, pour it through a mesh sieve that is set over a pitcher or a large bowl. Use a spoon to stir the puree and let the juice flow through the sieve. When most of the juice goes through, dump out the mushy pulp that is left. (Maybe you could use it for a smoothie or sorbet or something, but I haven't tried that. I am just in it for the juice). Here is my setup:


This goes a LOT faster if you use a very large mesh sieve and a very large bowl, but my big sieve was lost so I used a smaller one this time. See the pretty juice running through?

After your juice is all strained, put it in a pitcher or a bottle and store in the fridge. Shake or stir before drinking. My medium sized melon, above, yielded 2 quarts of juice.

Drink your delicious, nutritious watermelon juice over ice in a glass:


Now doesn't that look great? Tastes amazing. You can also use your juice in a smoothie, or add it to unsweetened iced tea. It's also good in lemonade (for the kids) or in carbonated water for a nice watermelon soda.

Enjoy your melons, and be healthy!

13 comments:

MizFit said...

OOOH

Id never thought of this and am gonna do TODAY for my TODDLER!

we're a no soda (ok for her :) I get some) family...

Miz.

working at it said...

hmm...I never thought of this either. I just love watermelon..not sure I'll try it..lol...but thanks for the watermelon reminder. I just dread the task of cutting the thing up and cleaning up. I'm domestically challenged.

Donna B said...

Thanks for the great idea! Thought of using it in a smoothy, but htought it would make it too thin. Luckily so far this season I have had good watermelons, but I will definately add this tip to my recipe book.

Dinah Soar said...

Great idea --I love watermelon and it's disappointing to get a mushy one...problem solved!

Anonymous said...

A cold cucumber and watermelon soup is another way to use up squishy watermelon. I don't have my recipe with me but I'm sure you could find tons of them on google and recipe sites!

BikiniMe said...

It's also good for watermelon martinis -- so the next mealy watermelon could be a great excuse for an impromptu cocktail party. *grin*

R. K. Parr said...

Mmmm yum... this is mouthwatering!! The idea of watermelon soda sounds so summary and delicious :)

Karyn said...

Thanks for the great info on watermelon! I had no idea there were so many nutrients in it, although we LOVE watermelon at our house!

Sherre said...

Thanks for the tip. In the past, I've thrown these mushy watermelons out. Now I can salvage at least the juice.

Chubby Chick said...

I wish I liked watermelon more than I do! There's just something about the texture that freaks me out... and I don't like to eat it. lol

new*me said...

My family ALL loves watermelon. I like the way I feel completely full after eating something healthy. Great idea, Lyn. Will be scoutin' out the perfect melon this weekend!

adventure grrl said...

What a fantastic blog, can't wait to read more!

Ceres said...

Yum!!! I looooove watermelon! In my home in Crete, we had to buy a separate fridge to store all the watermelons my family consumes in the summer, we're talking industrial quantities here :-) When in Crete in the summer, I always have watermelon with my morning coffee (but a lot of my Greek friends think that's weird).
Greeks traditionally eat watermelon with a bit of feta cheese, it's an interesting combination. My mother explained to me recently that there's some wisdom in that, as there's something about the way we digest the cheese that curbs the rise in blood sugar levels induced by the consumption of watermelon. :-)