When my brother Bruce and I were growing up, we so loved working on our grandparents’ farm in late spring and summer. Not only were we happy to feed the livestock in the mornings and afternoons, we also enjoyed planting and harvesting all kinds of vegetables and fruits ranging from beans to okra to cantaloupes to watermelons. Besides the literal “farm-to-table” potatoes and squash, another of our favorite parts of the Monday through Friday workdays were our morning breaks at which each person chose a small round watermelon from a pile cooling under the shade of the pecan tree in the backyard. We ate the melon’s sweet center and threw the melon rinds to the pigs. You’ve heard the saying “those were the good old days,” well to me those were extremely special days. Granddaddy Jay planted plenty of large watermelons for meal times and weekend enjoyment, but the growth of the sweet round ones were for our natural nutrition and to give us workday boosts!
You see, watermelon is more than just a refreshing, sweet, low calorie snack, it’s composed of 92 percent water so it provides hydration, but it also contains an amazing amount of health boosters. Watermelon’s many nutrients, include Vitamin A, Vitamins B1, B5 and B6, Vitamin C, Copper, Manganese and Potassium. It is also rich in antioxidants and in an amino acid called citrulline which helps move blood through your body, which may lower your blood pressure. Studies show your heart also enjoys the perks of all the lycopene watermelon contains, thus possibly lowering your risk for heart attacks. This information shared, I encourage you all to try the recipes below so you too may realize what a delicious “superfood” watermelon is.
1 bag of Romaine lettuce, washed drained, torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 medium seedless watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup chopped fresh mint
1-1/2 to 2 cups broken feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, watermelon, lime juice and half of the mint. Transfer this mixture to a nice serving bowl and top it with crumbled feta cheese, salt and pepper to taste and the remaining mint.
Chicken or beef kabobs with melon
(Watermelon is excellent broiled/grilled, alone or as part of any recipe you’d like to use it in as the fruit juices actually caramelize as they are cooking. Just be sure to place kabobs containing fruit on a grill pan or broiler pan.)
1 pound boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
OR 1 pound boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1-inch thick
1 medium Vidalia onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 medium red or green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 (1-1/2-inch) pieces of watermelon
1/2 cup A.1. Steak Sauce (thick and hearty is best)
1/2 cup frozen lime juice concentrate
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
2 cups hot cooked rice
Cut the chicken or steak into 1-inch pieces. Alternately thread pieces of chicken/beef, onion, bell pepper and watermelon on each of four 12-inch skewers. Combine the steak sauce, lime juice concentrate, brown sugar and Cayenne pepper in a two-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave the sauce on high for two minutes until it is hot. Stir it well. Place the kabobs on a rack in a broiler pan or grill pan so that the surface of the meat will be four to six inches from heat. Brush the kabobs with sauce. Broil or grill the kabobs 20 minutes (or until "well" done), brushing them with sauce and turning them occasionally. Serve the kabobs on rice. This recipe makes four servings.
Spring-summer fruit bowl
2 cups watermelon, cut from the rind, seeded and cubed
1 cantaloupe, cut from the rind, seeded and cubed
1 pint fresh strawberries, trimmed, cleaned, cut in pieces
1 pint fresh blueberries, cleaned, drained
6-ounces can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
In a decorative glass bowl, either toss the four fruits together or layer the fruit from the strawberries upward to the watermelon. Then, drizzle the orange juice evenly over the fruit. Cover it well, and allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours. This recipe makes four servings.
2 cups seedless watermelon, cut from rind, cut into small cubes
1 cup frozen lemon juice concentrate or frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup fat-free plain yogurt (optional)
1 cup (2 percent) milk
2 teaspoons honey
Combine all ingredients in a blender container until everything is smooth. This recipe makes two large glasses of fruity goodness. (The watermelon may be substituted with strawberries, peaches, figs or other of your favorite fruits.)
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