(Image of gorgeous ‘Moon & Stars’ watermelons from Big Daddy Seashell)
I’ve been learning over the past 6 1/2 months that there is a reason a number of ideas surrounding pregnancy persist as greatly as they do. It’s because, in short, they’re true. You really do get heartburn as your organs get squished into new and unfamiliar locations. Your hands and feet do get puffy, causing your shoes to fit a bit more snugly. And you actually do crave watermelon. A lot.
Perhaps it’s the high water content, perhaps it’s the inherent lycopene (beneficial to both momma and growing nudger alike), perhaps it’s because it’s good and sweet and crispy and everything that you are SO not feeling yourself in the swelter of summer as your belly bulges. I don’t really know. I haven’t questioned why pregnant women crave watermelon. I can only attest that they do. Oh, and how. And I came to this knowledge using the highly scientific, rigorously tested “ask other pregnant ladies” method, which is, without question, clearly fool-proof and without bias.
(Image from Vegetable Seed)
I went on a bit of a watermelon bender around two months ago. I suppose, in retrospect, that it would have behooved me to have gone for a mini melon, much as those touted in this recent NY Times piece, instead of the whoppers I tore into. While I can now vouch that it really is possible to have too much of a good thing, I didn’t care at the time. And, after tempering my consumption, I returned to watermelon with considerably more restraint, and a willingness to doctor it up in all manner of applications.
As summer begins its gradual wind-down, the green orbs are at their peak period of watery, delicious ripeness. This is absolutely the ideal time to chop into one. I’ve listed below my favorite ways of gorging on this good stuff. With a beverage, salad, and simple snack, there’s bound to be an option that appeals to the watermelon lover in you. If you need a bit of a guiding hand in choosing the perfect melon, check out this tutorial for expertly spotting watermelon bliss.
CLICK HERE for the rest of Ashley’s post and her “Agua Fresca” recipe after the jump!
recipe by Whole Foods Market (we served this back at my birthday “Build Your Own Taco” buffet in July and it was an instant hit)
-6-8 lbs. seedless watermelon, cut into 2-inch pieces
-2 c. cold water, divided
-1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
-1 Tbsp. agave nectar or honey (more or less to taste)
-Lime slices and mint leaves for garnish (optional)
-Cut the watermelon flesh from the rind.
-In a blender, process half the watermelon pieces with 1 c. of water until smooth.
-Pour through a strainer into a pitcher.
-Repeat the process with the remaining melon and water. You should end up with about 8 c. of juice.
-Stir in the lime juice and agave or honey.
-Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish with lime slices and mint.
*If you want a spot of hooch with your juice, toss in a splash of vodka.
Watermelon & Tomato Salad with Feta
recipe from Amy Cotler of the Locavore Way (fabulous blog and book of the same title)
-2 1/2c. 3/4 to 1-inch cubes of heirloom tomatoes
-1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt
-20 mint leaves, approx.
-1 small scallion, green and white, sliced
-1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice or 1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
-1 1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
-4 c. 3/4 to 1-inch cubes of watermelon, seeded
-1/3 c. crumbled feta
-Place a colander over a bowl. Add the tomatoes and toss with the salt. Let sit for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
-Stack and tightly curl the mint leaves then slice thinly. Add to a small bowl along with the scallion, lemon juice, and olive oil.
-Toss the tomatoes with the watermelon. Then add and toss in the scallion-mint dressing. Pour off any excess liquid. Taste, adding additional slat if you like, remembering that the feta is already salty.
-Pile the salad on a platter or individual plates, sprinkled with feta cheese.
Served far and wide at market and roadside stands all over Mexico, this refreshing snack can be served up with just about any fruit you can think of. It’s essentially just chopped up fruit (cucumbers and tomatoes would work well, too), sprinkled with lime juice and the spice blend I’ve provided below. During one of my last photo shoots at the home of Lark Craft’s creative director Chris Bryant, we munched on watermelon hunks dipped into Chris’s homemade spice blend. I was an instant addict (this was the prelude to my aforementioned bender), and have tried to recreate Chris’s powdery prowess here. The portion listed is for one serving.
-1 c. watermelon chunks, seeded
-Juice from 1/4 of a lime
-1 tsp. chile seasoning: Blend 4 Tbsp. chipotle powder, 4 Tbsp. ancho chili powder, 4 Tbsp. smoked sweet paprika, 2 Tbsp. sea salt, 1 Tbsp. powdered celery powder, and 1 Tbsp. cumin together in a spice grinder, food processor, or with a mortar and pestle until finely powdered. We used whole chipotle and ancho chiles, grinding them first in the spice grinder and then adding the other ingredients along the way. This makes about 3/4 c. of spice blend, so you’ll have plenty left over for future uses!
-Place watermelon on a plate.
-Squeeze fresh lime juice over top.
-Sprinkle with chile seasoning.
-Gobble up to your delight!
What about you? What’s your most beloved means of watermelon feasting? I’d love to learn! –ashley