There was a post on Facebook the other day about putting salt on watermelon. People have strong opinions about this. For me, a slab of watermelon and a shaker of salt make for a great afternoon treat. I have a friend who uses Tajin. She says the chili adds to the watermelon’s sweetness. According to watermelon.org, watermelon has a trio of flavors-bitter, sweet and sour. When a fine sprinkle of salt is added to watermelon the sweet flavor intensifies because it blocks the bitterness. Watermelon’s official name is Citrullus Lanatus of the botanical family Cucurbitaceae. It is cousins to cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash. Over 1,200 varieties of watermelon are grown worldwide (no, I won’t list them them). Picking a watermelon involves three steps, look, lift, and turn. Look the watermelon over- It should be firm and free from bruises, cuts, or dents. Lift it up-It should be heavy for its size. Turn it over-the underside should have a creamy, yellow spot from where it sat on the ground. The bigger the spot the riper it is. What about the thumping method? I can never tell the difference in thumps, and I hate beating up fruit in Kroger. Watermelon has a very high-water content and provides nutrients like lycopene, citrulline, and vitamins A and C. Don’t worry about swallowing watermelon seeds. Watermelon seeds are rich in magnesium and folate, which help your body work well and avoid disease. Seeds also have the types of fatty acids that lower bad cholesterol in your blood and help you avoid heart attack and stroke. One cup of diced watermelon has 46 calories and 139 grams of water. Since watermelon is 92% water this is a good way to keep hydrated in the summer. So, go put on Harry Styles “Watermelon Sugar” and make this recipe for your next summer meal.
1 ½ teaspoons lime zest (from 1 lime)
¼ cup fresh lime juice (from about 3 limes)
1 tablespoon sugar
Freshly ground pepper
3 cups seeded and finely chopped watermelon
1 cucumber peeled, seeded and diced
1 mango peeled and diced
1 jalapeno pepper seeded and minced
1 small red onion finely chopped
8 fresh basil leaves finely chopped
½ teaspoon garlic salt
Tortilla or pita chips
Stir together the lime zest, lime juice, sugar and ¾ teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Add the watermelon, cucumber, mango, jalapeno, onion and basil and toss gently. Chill the salsa until ready to serve. Add the garlic salt just before serving. Serve with chips.