We love a novelty holiday here and what could be better than celebrating everyone’s favorite summer fruit – the watermelon!? Friday August 3rd is National Watermelon Day so we’ve gathered our hints, tips and best recipes, plus some from the net, to bring you a bushel of ideas to join in the festivities.
The sheer size of most watermelons used to put me off! I thought we’d never get through it all and it would be a shame to throw half away. But, it turns out there’s a ton of great recipes for using up leftover watermelon and of course because it comes in its own packaging it makes for the basis of a fabulous zero waste snack!
Made of 92% water and packed with vitamins A, C and antioxidants the resulting recipes should be good, healthy fun. It’s large water content also make it great for using up in drinks and frozen dessert. Take a look at these super easy and tasty ideas.
The Pick of The Crop
First up, how can you make sure that you get a good one? When you bite into a crisp, juicy and sweet watermelon nothing tastes more like summer but unfortunately sometimes we can’t always tell how good they’ll be before we get them home. Having read around on the subject I’m informed that you should look for the spherical female fruit (rather then the oval male fruit) to ensure you avoid the overly water texture. Dull skin, a yellow field spot and dried stalk/tail are signs that the fruit is fully ripened, and scars on the skin can actually mean that the fruit was so sweet a hungry insect also thought they’d try for the goodness. As a rule of thumb a middle-size melon is likely to taste better than either extreme, but better still the heaviest for it’s size will avoid too much water. A lot to remember but any of these pointers should help you make a good melon choice!
A Cut Above
Next, watermelon is great enjoyed in its purest form, all by itself. Cutting one open and cutting it to share with family and friends is a simple summer joy along with the dripping juices and resulting messy children! (Send me a message if you want my tips for removing the stains from tee-shirts!). For years I’ve been cutting melon into wedges but I recently discovered that cutting into spears is actually much easier to eat – especially for the little ones. And it’s so simple…
First, cut the fruit in half and turn one half flat side down.
Then, cut at approx. one inch intervals as so…
Now spin the board 90 degrees and then repeat the cuts to form squares, holding it together with your spare hand.
Discard the pieces that are only skin and stack the spears on a tray. Cover and chill if you aren’t ready to eat them just yet. I keep mine in a tub in the fridge for snacking on all week.
Water Melon Popsicles
Watermelon popsicles are simplest of delights…even if, like me, you still don’t own a blender! I cubed our leftover watermelon (you could add a squeeze of lime if you like but I don’t!) and pureed it in deep bowl (or straight in a jug is even better!), poured the juice into a jug, scooped out any stray seeds and then poured it into ice lolly molds. Stick them in the freezer. Six hours later – freeze time will vary depending on size and freezer – hey presto – popsicles!!
- Blend or puree
However, if you want to get really fancy these watermelon-kiwi popsicles are bound to impress.
I personally find watermelon a little too watery for smoothies, although I have pinned a few on my Pinterest page to try – strawberry and watermelon just sounds so good! But, it’s sweet juice is ideal for adding to your favorite lemonade recipe. You can experiment with reducing the sugar and water according to taste but I’d start with simply adding 5 cups of pureed melon (which I also like to at least partially strain to remove some of the texture) directly into approximately a liter of lemonade.
If you are trying to avoid refined sugars, the boys and I really enjoyed this healthy honey sweetened version from www.myfussyeater.com. I’ve been making it every week this summer. It would also be good for freezing into pops or slushies but ours never lasts that long!
Sweet fruit pizzas were a new idea to me when I moved to the States. This berry and yogurt topped version from www.choosingchia.com would be a real show stopper at any summer party. So quick and simple to make, 10 minutes and you’ll be delivering a healthy crowd pleaser!
Mixing the sweet and the savory has also been something that’s grown on my the last few years. I couldn’t sell the children on balsamic or more bitter salad leaves but I loved this Watermelon, Feta and Arugula Salad from http://www.sharedappetite.com. And the best thing about a grown up treat just for me is that I can adjust it to my own tastes totally guilt free!
There are endless watermelon recipes out there so let’s throw caution to the wind and celebrate the fruit’s special day. Happy Watermelon Day all!