What Is Summer Without Watermelon!!

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Watermelon has long been taken for granted as a sweet, tasty summertime fruit, made of sugar and water, and nothing more. According to the Watermelon Board, over the past several years nutritionists, medical professionals, scientists and researchers have taken an interest to find out more about watermelon’s health benefits. As it turns out, watermelon is incredibly healthy and has even been declared the Lycopene Leader among fresh produce. Lycopene reduces the risks of stroke and provides additional cancer fighting health benefits.

Nutritionists have long appreciated the health benefits watermelon provides. Watermelon not only is an important part of a healthy diet, but it is has excellent levels of vitamins A and C and a good level of vitamin B6. A two-cup serving of watermelon is also a source of potassium, a mineral necessary for water balance and found inside of every cell.

One wedge of watermelon or two cups contains 86 calories and not a single gram of fat! There are plenty of good reasons to jump into a nice juicy wedge of watermelon!!!

Watermelon and Cucumber Salad

1 cup sugar

1 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons wasabi powder

3 tarragon sprigs

1 English cucumber, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons sherry or white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon ground sumac (optional)

8 cups cubed red watermelon

3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

1/4 cup sliced pitted kalamata olives

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Combine first 7 ingredients in a medium saucepan over high heat; bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat; cool completely. Place cucumber slices in a large bowl; pour vinegar mixture over cucumbers. Cover and chill cucumber and vinegar mixture 8 hours or overnight.

Combine oil, vinegar, and sumac, if desired, in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Strain cucumbers; discard liquid and tarragon sprigs. Place about 2 tablespoons cucumbers on each of 8 plates. Place 1 cup watermelon cubes on each plate. Top watermelon evenly with cheese, mint, olives, and dill. Drizzle evenly with vinaigrette.

Serves 8, each serving contains:  Calories 162, Fat 8.1 g, Protein 3 g, Carbohydrate 24 g,

Fiber 2 g, Cholesterol 9 mg, Sodium 268 mg, Calcium 83 mg.

Asian Watermelon Salad

2 Tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
1 small shallot, thinly sliced,

Kosher salt
Juice of 3 limes
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 2 -inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 red jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
4 cups chopped seedless watermelon
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons cocktail peanuts, roughly chopped

Whisk 2 tablespoons of the frying oil, the chopped shallot, lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and jalapeno in a large bowl. Add the watermelon and toss to combine. Let sit 10 minutes.

Add the cilantro, basil, mint and 2 tablespoons peanuts to the salad and season with salt; toss to combine. Top with the remaining 1 tablespoon peanuts. Serves 6.

Sweet, Salty, and Spicy Watermelon Side

(Adapted from 2012 Side Dish Smackdown Winner Recipe)

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 jalapeño or 2 Serrano peppers, seeded and minced

1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1 small red onion, diced

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint

1 small seedless watermelon

1 small cantaloupe

2 English cucumbers

1 jicama

2 mangoes

Combine lime juice and next 5 ingredients.

Place red onion, cilantro, and mint in a large bowl. Dice watermelon and cantaloupe into 1-inch pieces; add to bowl. Peel and dice cucumbers, jicama, and mangoes; add to bowl. Stir in lime juice mixture. Cover and chill 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 10-12.

Grilled Shrimp and Watermelon Feta Salad

1 pound large peeled and deveined shrimp, tails removed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 large cloves garlic, 1 grated, 1 halved
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the grill grates
1/2 medium watermelon (about 3 pounds), rind removed, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups), chilled
1 garden cucumber (about 8 ounces), peeled, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
One 4-ounce block feta, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, torn into large pieces, optional
1/2 baguette
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12-inch skewer sticks
Put the shrimp in a large resealable plastic bag. Add the oregano, crushed red pepper, grated garlic, lemon zest and juice and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Seal the bag tightly and use your hands to lightly massage the marinade into the shrimp. Marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Prepare a grill or grill pan for high heat; lightly oil the grill grates or pan. Soak the skewers in cold water.

Put the watermelon and cucumber in a mixing bowl. Put the feta and olives on top. If using the mint, scatter most of it over the watermelon mixture. Do not mix.

Thread about 5 shrimp on each skewer. Halve the baguette piece lengthwise, then cut the pieces in half crosswise so you have 4 pieces. Brush the cut sides of the baguette with 2 tablespoons of the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the bread cut-side down on the grill along with the shrimp. Grill the shrimp until lightly charred in spots on both sides and just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Grill the bread until lightly charred, about 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp and bread to a plate.

Lightly rub the cut sides of the halved garlic onto the hot bread. Put 1 piece of bread on each of 4 serving plates.

Add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and a large pinch of salt and pepper to the salad, gently stir to combine and divide among the plates. Top each serving of salad with a shrimp skewer. Garnish with the remaining mint if using and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Fish Tacos with Watermelon Salsa

4 cups diced seedless watermelon
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 2 limes, plus lime wedges for serving
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Kosher salt
1 pound skinless wild striped bass fillets
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 romaine lettuce heart, thinly sliced
8 corn tortillas
1 avocado, sliced

Make the watermelon salsa: Combine the watermelon, red onion, cilantro, lime juice and jalapeno in a bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and set aside.

Preheat a grill to high. Sprinkle the fish on both sides with the chile powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt; drizzle both sides with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil. Brush the grill with olive oil, then add the fish and grill until marked and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the fish to a plate and break into bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, toss the lettuce with 2 tablespoons of the juices from the watermelon salsa and a pinch of salt. Warm the tortillas on the grill and fill with the fish, watermelon salsa, avocado and lettuce. Serve with lime wedges. Serves 4.
Spicy Watermelon Soup

Small watermelon (6 cups)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

2 small jalapeno chiles

Thinly sliced jalapeno (optional)

Cut watermelon into large chunks (you should have 6 cups). Puree half the watermelon, lemon juice, and salt in a blender until combined. Cut ribs and remove seeds from chiles, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Add to blender with remaining watermelon; pulse until chunky, 2 or 3 times. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. Stir well, and garnish with thinly sliced jalapeno if desired before serving. Serves 2-3.

Easy Watermelon Dessert

1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons grey salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 (5-pound) watermelon
In a large bowl, add all ingredients together except for watermelon.

Remove the rind from the watermelon and cut into 1/2-inch slices and remove seeds. Cut the watermelon into cubes and place in individual bowls.

Drizzle with the pineapple mixture and serve.