Written By; Danielle Pothier, MS, RD, CHWC, Wellness Specialist Northwestern Lifestyle Medicine
and Johanna Setta, Food Access Coordinator, Healthy Roots Collaborative
Summer might be winding down, but many home gardens are just beginning to reap the benefits of their watermelon plants. Watermelon is a special sweet and tasty treat on a warm summer day. It is part of a healthy diet offering a high water content to keep one hydrated on a scorching hot day. It’s also packed with nutrients – one cup provides 45 calories, 17 percent of the Daily Value for Vitamin A and 21 percent of the Daily Value for Vitamin C.
Serve watermelon wedges for dessert, cut into cubes, add to a smoothie or mix into a fruit salad.
Most watermelons have a long 80-100 day journey until they are ready for harvest. There are a few ways to check if your watermelons are ready for harvest. Sometimes when the tendrils closest to the melon turn brown, it may be ripe. You can also use the classic thump test. A ripe fruit will provide a thumping hollow sound.
Watermelon will store uncut for a few days in a dry cool space. If you would like the whole melon to last longer, store in the refrigerator.
After cutting, wrap the remainder tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.
Recipe: Cucumber Watermelon Salad Recipe (adapted from eatright.org)
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
2 medium unpeeled cucumbers, washed, ends removed, sliced lengthwise then sliced crosswise
3 cups watermelon, cut in 1-inch cubes (about 1 pound)
1. Whisk together lime juice, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add parsley.
2. Add cucumbers and toss until combined. Add watermelon.
3. Stir all together. Cover and set aside at room temperature up to one hour before serving.
Serving size: 1½ cups
Calories: 90; Total Fat: 0.5g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 300mg; Total Carbohydrate: 20g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Protein: 2g