Take Advantage of Fresh Summer Melons

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Melons are one of summer’s coolest, juiciest, and healthiest fruits. Melons are loaded with potassium and vitamin C, are fat and cholesterol-free, and contain disease-fighting nutrients. The high water content in these juicy fruits helps prevent dehydration in the sweltering heat!!

Generally, melons are available throughout the year in your local grocery, but are surely the most flavorful during their peak season. A simple slice of melon is always the perfect treat for a hot July day, but there are also lots of ways you can incorporate it into your summer menu.

Melon Mozzarella Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 cups peeled, coarsely chopped fresh peaches (about 1 1/2 lb.)
  • 1 (8-oz.) tub fresh small mozzarella cheese balls, cut in half
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup Lemon-Poppy Seed Dressing (or poppy seed dressing if you cannot find)
  • 4 cups seeded and cubed watermelon
  • 4 cups cubed honeydew melon
  • 3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups seedless green grapes, cut in half

Directions

  1. Toss first 3 ingredients with 1/4 cup Lemon-Poppy Seed Dressing.
  2. Layer watermelon, peach mixture, honeydew, berries, and grapes in a large glass trifle dish or tall glass bowl. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 8 hours. Toss with remaining 1/2 cup dressing just before serving. Garnish, if desired.

Seven Layer Salad, Fruit Version

Ingredients

  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh limejuice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint
  • 2 cups diced watermelon
  • 2 cups halved blueberries
  • 2 cups diced honeydew melon
  • 2 cups quartered strawberries
  • 2 cups diced pineapple
  • 2 cups halved green grapes
  • 2 cups diced cantaloupe

Directions

  1. Combine orange juice, lime juice, and mint in a small bowl.
  2. Toss watermelon with 1 tablespoon of the juice mixture in a medium bowl. Place in a trifle bowl. Repeat by tossing each fruit before layering with 1 tablespoon of the juice mixture.
  3. Layer on top of the watermelon, blueberries, honeydew, strawberries, pineapple, grapes, and cantaloupe.
  4. Garnish with additional mint if desired.

Serves 14.

Spicy Watermelon Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 jalapeño, 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 cucumbers, diced
  • 1 cantaloupe, diced

Directions

  1. Combine lime juice and next 5 ingredients.
  2. 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, and cantaloupe; add to bowl. Stir in lime juice mixture. Cover and chill 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Creamy Watermelon Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 package (3 ounces) watermelon gelatin
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • 1 12 ounce container frozen whipped topping, fat-free
  • 2 cups seeded watermelon
  • 1 pre-made graham cracker crust

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Cool to room temperature. Whisk in whipped topping, and fold in the watermelon.
  2. Spoon mixture into crust. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.

Serves 8.

Melon Berry Ice

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup sugar, I use a tad less
  • 2 cups seeded watermelon cubes
  • 2 cups fresh berries, raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries (I used blueberries, color is great)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan combine water and sugar, bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil gently, uncovered for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  2. Place the watermelon, berries, and lemon juice in a blender or large food processor, cover and blend or process for 30 seconds. Add the warm syrup and blend until almost smooth. Transfer the mixture to a 3-quart rectangular baking dish, or a 13×9 x2 inch-baking pan. Place in the freezer, uncovered for 1 ½ hours or until almost solid.
  3. Remove from freezer, and using a fork break up the frozen fruit into a smoother mixture. Serve in small bowls, top with fresh berries if desired.

Serves 6.

Cooling Melon Gazpacho

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cubed, seeded watermelon, honeydew, or cantaloupe
  • 1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped, seeded cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Directions

  1. In a blender or food processor combine watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, onion oil, and vinegar. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Stir in the lime juice and the 1 tablespoon fresh dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve cold.

Serves 4.

Melon Berry Chicken Salad with Feta and Honey Drizzle

(This one was adapted from a Better Homes and Gardens recipe)

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 cups cubed melon, watermelon, honeydew or cantaloupe (these can be melon balls as well)
  • 2 cups quartered fresh strawberries
  • 2 cup chopped cooked chicken breast
  • ½ small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Toasted chopped pecans, optional

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan combine vinegar and honey. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat, reduce heat. Simmer for 7 to 8 minutes or until mixture is reduced by half, stirring frequently. Cool.
  2. Place melon in a large bowl. Add strawberries, chicken, red onion, basil and cheese, mix gently. Cover and chill about 45 minutes or until cold.
  3. To serve, divide the chicken mixture among chilled salad plates. Drizzle each serving with 1 tablespoon of vinegar mixture. If desired sprinkle with toasted nuts.

Serves 4.