How to Eat Your Watermelon

While you’re struggling with that heavy, unwieldy watermelon up the steps and into the kitchen, you might keep these facts in mind: Two cups of watermelon will supply 45 percent of a day’s worth of Vitamin C and 245 percent of a day’s carotenoids. And two cups of watermelon will provide a reasonable calorie count of 90. Less than a hundred! Perhaps that thought will make the load a little lighter.

More reasons to love watermelon: If you were to choose the most nutritious fruit of all, it would have to be the guava, but since this tropical fruit is rarely found in northern New England, you may as well choose No. 2: watermelon! Coming in a close third, nutrition-wise, is the grapefruit, either pink or red, followed by the little brown kiwi. It takes two kiwis to make 90 calories. Other good choices are cantaloupes, dried apricots, oranges, and strawberries — all are right up there as the best choices of the season.

When serving watermelon, perhaps the biggest challenge is to find a way to serve it, other than slicing it picnic-style. A bowl of fruit would be cool and refreshing — with the extra advantage of having no seeds.

Summer Fruit Bowl
(Makes 20 servings)

  • 2 cups water
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 Tbsps. lime juice
  • ¾ cup loosely packed mint leaves, minced
  • 1 20-lb. watermelon
  • 1 small cantaloupe
  • 6 large plums
  • 4 large nectarines
  • 1 pound seedless grapes

First, cook the water, sugar and lime juice 15 minutes, or until it becomes a light syrup. Stir in the mint, cover and refrigerate until well chilled.

Cut the watermelon into bite-sized pieces; discard seeds. Cut the cantaloupe into bite sized pieces as well and cut the unpeeled plums and nectarines into wedges. Combine the cut-up fruits with the grapes in a large bowl. Pour the chilled syrup through a strainer over the fruit, gently tossing to mix well. Cover and refrigerate to blend the flavors, stirring the mixture occasionally.

Watermelon in Riesling

  • 2 lbs. watermelon
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup dry Riesling wine
  • Mint sprigs to garnish

Using a melon baller, carve balls from the watermelon, discarding seeds. You will have 3 to 4 cups. Chill.

In a small saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the wine over low heat. Cool to room temperature, then chill thoroughly.

To serve, divide the melon among 4 dessert dishes or wine goblets. Pour 2 tablespoons of the Riesling syrup over each serving. Garnish with mint sprigs and serve.

“The Gourmet Cookbook” has a marvelous salad, writing, “This makes an appealing side dish, but on a hot night . . . you might end up eating a large bowl for supper.” Not a bad idea.

Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad
(Serves 4)

  • 1 3-lb. piece watermelon, rind removed, cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • 2 large tomatoes, cut into ¾-inch chunks
  • 1 cup crumbled feta (4 oz.)
  • 2/3 cup packed fresh cilantro sprigs, chopped
  • 2 Tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Stir together watermelon, Tomatoes, feta, cilantro, oil and vinegar in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Watermelon Sorbet

Peel and seed 2½ lbs. fruit. Purée until smooth. Add 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon of sugar; 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon vodka or Campari.

Pour mixture into a small container. Seal and refrigerate to 40 degrees. Pour this chilled mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn until frozen. Scoop frozen sorbet into a container and freeze for several hours before serving.

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