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  • Kristin Ritzau

Fruit of the Week: Watermelon

Watermelon is one of the staples of summer eating. It feeds a crowd, but is also very healthy. High in Vitamin C and A as well as Lycopene, it is possible eating watermelon can lower inflammation and might help deter cancer. Did you know watermelon is 92% water? It's high in fiber and low in calories, making it a great summer snack.

This week we are featuring some awesome recipes to help preserve and explore this fun fruit in new ways. Have you ever heard of pickles made from watermelon rind? What about a watermelon salad or smoothie? Enjoy the creative ideas below and let us know how it goes!


Watermelon Rind Fridge Pickles


· Rinds from 1/2 of a large watermelon or from 1 small watermelon

· 4 cups Apple Cider Vinegar

· 2 cups of water

· 2 cups of sugar

· 1/3 cup of kosher salt

· 1 cinnamon stick or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

· Optional: 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes; 1 teaspoon allspice berries; 1 star anise pod

1. Cut rinds into one-inch strips. Peel the green exterior of the watermelon rind using a vegetable peeler. Cut into one-inch pieces for the pickles trying to leave ¼ inch of the red watermelon in each piece.

2. Add vinegar, water, sugar, salt to a large nonreactive saucepan and bring mixture to a boil. Stir to dissolve salt and sugar.

3. Add watermelon and bring to boil again for one minute. Remove from heat and add spices.

4. You can let the mixture cool before jarring it. Prepare by ladling out the watermelon rind into jars and then follow by covering with the brine completely. Once the jars have cooled or can be handled, place the pickles into the fridge.

5. You can enjoy them after an hour and will last two weeks in the fridge. These pickles are meant to be enjoyed quickly and should not sit for long periods of time.


Adapted from:

https://www.gardeninginthemitten.com/easy-watermelon-rind-refrigerator-pickles/

Watermelon Tomato Salad


Toss the following ingredients into a large bowl:

· ½ watermelon chopped into bite size pieces

· 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

· ½ cup feta or goat cheese

· ¼ sliced red onion

· 1 chopped avocado

· 2 tablespoons chopped herbs any combination or all: basil, mint, chives

Dressing

Mix and dress salad with:

· ¼ cup olive oil

· 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or other flavored vinegar: Sherry, peach, etc.

· Salt and Pepper to taste

(No herbs or avocado in this pic version - use what you have! Experimenting is fun!)


Watermelon smoothie (4 servings)

4 cups seedless watermelon

2 cups frozen strawberries

Place in blender and puree until no fruit pieces are visible. Enjoy!


Watermelon Feta Bites


½ watermelon cubed

1 generous handful of basil leaves

8 oz Feta cut in one inch cubes

Balsamic glaze

½ cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons of honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar

Toothpicks or skewers

Stack watermelon, then feta, basil and another watermelon on top – place on serving tray. Repeat to make as many as you'd like.


To make glaze, combine balsamic vinegar and your choice of sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it starts simmer, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cook and then drizzle over watermelon bites.

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