A bit about watermelons, storage and serving

watermelon

Watermelons are a great summertime treat and are usually in season from June through September. The season can be a bit longer on either side of that spectrum depending on weather and growing conditions. I happened to have some excellent watermelon just this morning – the first of the year for me – and wanted to take a moment to share a couple of reminders about the wonderfully sweet and refreshing fruit (technically considered to be vegetables by the USDA because they are in the squash family, but always a fruit in my mind).

Watermelons are about 90% water and, as a result, are very low in calories in spite of their pleasant, natural sweetness. They are very high in the antioxidant lycopene, and are a reasonably good source of vitamins B6, C and potassium. Some studies have found that the amount of lycopene in a watermelon increases as it ripens off the vine when the fruit is stored at room temperature, making the fruit more nutritious. Fortunately, this was only shown for uncut watermelon; already cut watermelon did not show the same result, so if your idea of summer refreshment is a cold slice of melon, you have little to worry about it. Watermelon will lose a bit of flavor over time in the fridge, so be sure to eat it within a few days of slicing. I do not recommend leaving cut watermelon at room temperature for too long (bad things can happen).

I like my watermelon plain, or with a little bit of salt and lime juice sprinkled on top. Carrying the salty theme a bit further, watermelon goes wonderfully with feta cheese and works quite well with salty ham or pancetta as a summer snack. As more of a meal idea, watermelon gazpacho can be a lovely addition to a menu. Feel free to note your favorite serving suggestions in the comments. I could always use a few new ideas when it comes to serving up watermelon!

7 comments

  1. I love watermelon.

  2. I too love watermelon, in fact last summer I had an amuse bouche of vanilla bean & white Chocolate sabayon, watermelon coulis. I’m normally a dark chocolate kinda girl yet it was an absolutely fantastic contrast in taste and mouth feel. I’ve yet to attempt recreating it myself but it’s definitely on my never ending ‘must try’ recipe list!

  3. My favorite thing in Egypt was watermelon juice– basically, you just stick a couple cups of chilled (nearly frozen) watermelon in the blender. It’s the most delicious thing I’ve ever had to drink, honestly!

  4. Ha! I didn’t realize watermelon was considered a vegetable! And here I’ve been missing out!

  5. yum! this makes me so excited for summer. :-)

  6. tupperware used to have a container for melon storage that kept the meat of the melon out of the juice. Does anyone know where i can find such a storage container?

  7. I love watermelon too! yum yum, my fav recipe to use with water melon is watermelon smotthie! or water melon crush, pop it in the blender with some lemon or lime juice, add some water (optional) or juice of choice but not too much and then last but not least blend and serve! Delicious!
    try it! xx belle
    ps. watermelon 4eva

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