Eat More Watermelon!

Eat More Watermelon!
August 2, 2012 Visit Madison

One of summer’s most prized treasures is now widely available in Madison for around 4 dollars. On almost every corner you can find mountains of big, green, juicy watermelons.  Yes, they are heavy and messy, but are they ever worth the effort. I estimate that, on average, I cut up one of these babies every other day, just to satisfy my family of three.

If, like me, you are getting tired of the same old watermelon recipe – cut into wedges and serve – then have a look at some ways you can enjoy watermelon at every meal.

Remember, when buying a watermelon, slightly scratch the skin, which will produce a pale green shaving if the melon is truly ripe, and look for the telltale yellow belly, which proves the watermelon was ripened on the ground.  Watermelons will keep for several days stored indoors away from sunlight.

Breakfast:
Watermelon Rind Mint Smoothie
This recipe is a good one for using up the watermelon rind. It is widely thought that the rind is not edible, but it is, without the skin of course, and it’s full of vitamins and minerals.  I tried this for breakfast today and substituted a banana for the yogurt and left out the honey; it was still delicious.  My philosophy with smoothies is to experiment with what I have on hand, so use this a base recipe for your own concoction.

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon of fresh mint leaves

2 Cups of fresh cubed watermelon rind

1 Cup plain yogurt

4 Tablespoons of honey

1 Pinch of cinnamon

Blend ingredients together on high until smooth.

Lunch:Watermelon and Goat Cheese
Nothing could be simpler to prepare for a refreshing lunch or appetizer on a hot summer’s day.

Ingredients:

2 pounds of cubed watermelon, seeded and skin removed.

4 ounce goat cheese log

Black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil

Arrange watermelon on a platter and top with goat cheese. Sprinkle with black pepper and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil to taste.

Dinner: Watermelon Rind Curry
This recipe is for those who really want to try something different. I found this recipe at Watermelonrind.com, but I adapted the recipe to include some ingredients I think you can find locally. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’d love to hear from some who’ve been brave enough to give it a go.

Ingredients:
3 Pounds of fresh cubed watermelon rind

1 Cup of water

3 Tablespoons garlic infused olive oil

½ Teaspoon of cumin seed

½ Teaspoon of dried thyme

2 Dried red chilies

½ Teaspoon dried oregano

4 Large fresh minced garlic coves

1 Teaspoon of fine ground kosher salt

¼ Teaspoon of ground turmeric

2 Teaspoon of fresh-diced cilantro

4 Cups of steamed basmati rice

Preparation Instructions:
To begin this delicious Indian style recipe, you will first want to take out a sharp kitchen knife, and begin cubing your watermelon rind. Do make sure to trim off all of the outer green skin from the rind. Once you are done there, set the rind aside. Next take out a saucepan, add in the olive oil, and then heat these contents over medium high heat. Once the oil has heated, add in the cumin seeds, thyme, oregano, and dried red chilies. You will want to cook these ingredients for two to three minutes, or until the contents are fragrant and lightly toasted. Next add in the minced garlic, and stir it into the mixture until it’s well distributed and golden brown. Next add in the cubed watermelon rind, kosher salt, and ground turmeric. Stir these ingredients until the watermelon rind is golden and most of the liquid has absorbed into the rind and seasonings, which should take roughly seven minutes. Moving along, next you will want to pour one cup of water into the saucepan, cover the pan with a lid, and then reduce your heat to medium low. Let the curry simmer while stirring occasionally until the rind is tender and juicy. At this point once again raise the heat to medium high, bring the contents to a boil, and continue stirring for several minutes. Your curry is now done, so serve it hot. Garnish this dish with finely chopped cilantro, served with a side of boiled basmati rice.

Happy watermelon season!

-Angela

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