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Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Watermelon has always been one of my favorite summertime treats. I mean, not that many foods can work as a snack, dessert, and hydration source. Seriously, watermelon lives up to its name at 92% water.
But the fruit is much more than sugary water. It's full of important nutrients, too.
-You might immediately think of carrots when I say vitamin A, but watermelon is a lesser-known supplier of the nutrient needed for eye health and immunity.
-In particular, watermelon also has a type of vitamin A called lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that may play a role in preventing heart disease and prostate cancer.
-Adding further to watermelon's immune-boosting power are vitamins C and B6. The latter is also needed for brain health and forming red blood cells.
-Also, watermelon supplies some potassium to help regulate blood pressure.
You probably wouldn't be too surprised to know that as I'm writing this now, I'm savoring a bowl of sweet seedless watermelon chunks, with just the right amount of bite.
Cut-up watermelon really is an excellent, refreshing choice for a snack (pair with some cheese or nuts for protein) or as a light pick-me-up after dinner. But there are many other ways to make use of my favorite fruit. Try these tasty recipes from the Watermelon Board (www.watermelon.org)!
Tropical Cilantro Salsa
Makes 8-12 servings
- 2 cups seeded and diced watermelon
- 1 cup diced fresh pineapple
- 1 cup diced fresh mango
- Juice from 4 limes
- 1 cup trimmed and chopped scallions
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Salt and pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper just before serving.
Fresh Mozzarella Salad
Makes 6-8 servings
- 2 cups seeded small watermelon balls
- 2 cups fresh mozzarella pieces
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil (purple or green)
- 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dash of balsamic vinegar as desired
Toss together the watermelon, mozzarella, basil, scallions, and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over a bed of baby greens. Drizzle a bit of balsamic vinegar over the salad if desired.
Makes 6 servings
- 6 cups torn mixed salad greens
- 3 cups cubed seeded watermelon
- ½ cup sliced onion
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except oil and pepper. Just before serving, toss salad mixture with oil. Garnish with pepper.
Watermelon Pineapple and Peach Smoothie
Makes 2 servings
- 2 cups chopped seedless watermelon
- 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained well
- 2 cups peach yogurt
- Dash ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth and serve immediately.