Last night Gary and I enjoyed our first taste of one of summer’s delights- watermelon. I must admit that Gary loves watermelon and I could take it or leave it. Tastes good, but seldom seems worth the trouble and expense. Well…let me just say that after reading about watermelon this morning, I have a new respect for it! And after growing our own for the first time in years, I’m no longer concerned with the expense.
I knew that watermelon is good for us, since it is a fruit, but I didn’t know that watermelon contains vitamins C, A, B6, and B1, plus potassium, thiamin, and magnesium. It also has lycopene , and citrulline which benefit eyesight and blood flow. Combine those benefits with the fact that it is low in calories and watermelon becomes the perfect summer treat!
Watermelon is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, and is related to cucumbers, cantaloupe, squash, and pumpkin. They can be round or oblong, striped or solid colors. The inside can be orange, red, pink, yellow, or nearly white. Some are seedless. My grandfather, John Springer, grew acres of watermelons. I remember them piled high in the front yard, waiting for customers. They were huge and juicy sweet. They sold for 25c each. I challenge you to find a decent watermelon today for less than $3! Most are $6. I bought seeds for $1.25 and when they didn’t seem to be sprouting, I bought a plant for $1.50. Both survived quite well and we now have three huge vines and ten watermelons.
The big question with watermelons is always “Is it ripe?” I mean, we can’t see inside unless it is cut. The guidelines all say that one side should be lighter, almost yellow. It should be heavy. It should be slightly dull in color. If you are picking it off the vine, the little curly tendrils should be turning brown. I probably picked ours about a week early. It was good, but I’m sure the next one will be better.
While researching watermelons this morning I found two interesting recipes and a wonderful cooking site! I’ve always heard that you can fry anything, but I consider “fried watermelon ” pushing the edge!! You can look at the recipe and decide for yourself. However, I definitely think “watermelon lemonade ” is worth a try. I recently had blueberry lemonade and it is now one of my favorites.
And we can’t leave this subject without looking at watermelon carving . Oh, my goodness! These are people with lots of patience, skill, and imagination. Don’t look for one of these centerpieces at my next picnic! And don’t overlook the title-“Watermelon Carving Made Easy!” Are they kidding????