An all-American favorite — watermelon
Published 7:00 pm Saturday, June 29, 2013
When the weather heats up, there are few foods that invoke the memory and pure taste experience quite like watermelon. It’s a healthy food that kids and teens crave, while at the same time allowing adults to feel like a kid again.
Whether enjoyed on its own or playing a featured role in a tasty dish, watermelon is a true star in the produce department. And it’s available all year long.
What’s interesting about watermelon is that it’s so much more than just a fruit.
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•Watermelon is a nutritious snack that kids enjoy — it’s an excellent source of vitamins A and C
•Watermelon is a great value — one watermelon can feed three dozen people
•Watermelon is incredibly versatile — it can be featured in savory entrees to sweet desserts…and everything else in between.
A few nutrients you can find in watermelon:
Vitamin C: an antioxidant nutrient that aids in the maintenance of normal connective tissues, promotes wound healing, supports immune health and is an important protector of vision.
Vitamin A: important for optimal eye and skin health and to support immune health by enhancing the infection-fighting action of white blood cells.
Potassium: a mineral that is found inside every cell, it is necessary for water balance and helps maintain normal blood pressure.
Lycopene: an antioxidant that provides watermelon with its reddish-pink hue. Watermelon contains higher levels of lycopene that any other fresh fruit or vegetable. Lycopene has been studied for a potential role in reducing risk of heart disease, various cancers and protection to skin from harmful UV rays.
It is easy to pick a perfect melon. Once a watermelon is harvested from the vine, it will no longer ripen or sweeten. Keep these three tips in mind to pick a sweet-tasting melon.
Choose a melon with an even shape and free from bruises, cuts or dents.
Melons are mostly water, so pick a heavy one.
Turn it over
The underside of the watermelon should have a yellow belly from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.
Whole watermelon can be stored at room temperature for up to one week. Before cutting or slicing, wash the watermelon rind with running water to help remove any bacteria that may be on the surface.
Watermelon that has been cut should be loosely wrapped, refrigerated and eaten within a few days.
Try some creative ways to enjoy the many benefits of watermelon this summer by making a watermelon cake, watermelon slice popsicles or a watermelon keg. Visit www.watermelon.org for these recipes and more.
Fire and Ice salsa
Makes three cups
All you need
•3 cups seeded and chopped watermelon
•1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
•2 tablespoons lime juice
•1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
•1 tablespoon finely sliced green onions
•2 tablespoons seeded and finely chopped jalapeño peppers
All you do
1. Combine ingredients; mix well and cover. Refrigerate 1 hour or more.
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