Watermelon is an American summertime favorite. Throughout the summer months, many cannot get enough of this sweet treat. There are more than 1,200 different varieties of watermelons.
Watermelon provides a refreshing way to help us reach the MyPlate recommendation of 1-2 cups from the fruit group each day. One cup of watermelon is equal to 1 small slice (1 inch thick) or 1 cup diced. Watermelon is naturally low in fat, sodium and has no cholesterol. It provides a source of potassium, vitamin C, Vitamin A and folic acid. Watermelon is in season from May to September.
We begin to see more and more opportunities to purchase watermelon at a reasonable price during this time.
Selecting the perfect watermelon–Choose a firm, symmetrical, fruit that is free of cracks, bruises, soft spots or mold. A ripe watermelon will have a dull sheen, dried stem, and a buttery yellow underside where it has touched the ground. Thump your watermelon, as it should sound dull and hollow. Lift them as well; they should be heavy for their size.
Storing your watermelon–An uncut watermelon can be kept for up to 2 weeks at room temperature. When ready to use, scrub with a clean vegetable brush under running water. Dry with a clean towel or paper towel. Once cut, store watermelon in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days without hurting flavor or texture.
Some interesting facts about watermelon:
- A watermelon is 100% usable and compostable (70% flesh and 30% rind).
- Watermelon live up to their name, as they are 92% water.
- The rind of a watermelon is edible and can be used in stir-fries or salads.
- Hollow out the watermelon to make a compostable bowl for your delicious treat such as fruit salad or fruity dessert
Watermelon and Pistachio Salad
3 c watermelon, cubed
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
4 oz. feta
1-2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
Cut the rind off of the watermelon and cut into medium sized chunks. Place watermelon and onion in a large bowl. Add the balsamic vinegar and toss to combine. Now add the pistachios, mint and feta. Toss again. Serve on a large platter with a scattering of mint over the top. Recipe courtesy of watermelon.org
For more information or recipes using watermelon go to: http://food.unl.edu