Watermelon’s Last Hurrah

08/23/2021

As summer wanes, I’m all for bringing on one last hurrah for watermelon. It’s such a convenient, “good for you” cool-down snack that quenches thirst and satisfies the sweet tooth, all in one.

Refreshing with a squeeze of lime, or kicked up with a dusting of ground chili pepper and salt, it’s versatile and fun to eat. No wonder it’s hard to bid adieu to the flavorful, locally grown varieties until next year.

Think “watermelon” as you plan Labor Day weekend get-togethers and after-school snacks for the kids. And be choosy. Before you and your child hoist one out of a bin at your market, take note. The best feel heavy for their size. Also, look for a field spot, a creamy yellow-colored splotch. Then, knock on it and listen for a deep, hollow (not dull) sound. When it passes the ripeness test, bring it home and get inspired. Here are some ideas:

CARVE IT

Don’t wait until Halloween to display your creative carving skills. Make an eye-catching melon basket for serving a fruit salad or fruit kebabs.

Slightly trim off one end of a washed melon so that it stands upright. Slice off the other end 1/4 of the way down, then scoop out the flesh with a melon baller.

Use pumpkin-carving tools or paring knife to carve patterns or words on the outside without cutting through the rind. Cut zigzags around the rim, if you wish. Refill cavity with fruit salad, and garnish with fresh mint for a spectacular presentation.

DRINK IT

Make a big pitcher of “Watermelon Citrus Cooler.” Mix seedless watermelon chunks with 4 tablespoons frozen limeade concentrate, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and 1 1/2 cups crushed ice in a blender.

Let your child rub the rims of chilled, tall glasses with a lemon wedge. Swirl rims lightly in a plate of sugar for a tangy sip when you drink the cooler.

FREEZE IT

Cut 3 cups of watermelon flesh into chunks. Remove seeds and liquefy in a blender. Pour into ice-cube trays and freeze. Toss the cubes in a glass of juice or sparkling water with an after-school snack. Garnish with a whole strawberry or thin, triangular slice of watermelon with the pointed end slid onto the rim of the glass.

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