Also Known as
Tarbuj, kalingar, water melon
No other fruit says summer like the subtly crunchy, thirst quenching watermelon. As a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, the watermelon is related to the cantaloupe, squash and pumpkin, other plants that also grow on vines on the ground. Watermelons can be round, oblong or spherical in shape and feature thick green rinds that are often spotted or striped. They range in size from a few pounds to upward of ninety pounds.
Put the whole watermelon into the sink, gently wash with cool water, and dry with paper towels before cutting. Wash the rind of a watermelon with regular water. Use a sharp knife to carefully slice off the top and the bottom. A serrated knife works best for items that have a softer interior and tougher exterior like melons, tomatoes, and breads. Stand the melon on end, and carefully slice down through the center. Note that if you cut along the dark stripes on the outside of the watermelon, then the watermelon seeds will end up on the outside of the pieces of watermelon, making them easier to remove.
Cut the watermelon in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds with the tip of a knife, if you want.
Slice watermelon horizontally into wedges. Remove the rind, if desired, by inserting a knife between the rind and the flesh to cut it away. Serve as wedges. Place each section into a bowl.
Try arranging them on top of a fruit platter for a delicious, refreshing, and healthy treat.
To use a Melon Baller with melon, wash your melon, take the seeds out, then cut it in half and scoop the flesh out with a twist of your wrist. There's no need to cut the rind off the melon first; you just leave that behind. You can use left-over melon that can't be shaped nicely for a blender drink, or just eat it out of hand.
Scoops are great to decorate desserts or relish as it is. You can also, combine watermelon balls, watermelon juice and chill. Use the watermelon that you scooped out of the basket to make watermelon balls. Add other fruits such as canned pineapple tidbits, orange slices, apples, bananas, strawberries, cherries and more to make a gourmet fruit salad. Mix them together and then pour the mixture into the base of the watermelon basket and enjoy.
Dice or cube watermelon by cutting them into uniform strips. Line up the strips with your non-working hand and cut them into square pieces. Cube them as per the recipe's need regarding the size of the cubes, (for example, "cut into ½-inch cubes").
Watermelon wedges are small bite sized pieces of watermelon which are served with skin.
Select a sharp chef's knife. Chop the watermelon into half. Place the watermelon on a chopping board, hold your knife comfortably, with your forefinger running down one side of the blade and your thumb pressed against the opposite side, chop it triangular in cross section. They may be seasoned with salt, black salt and spices prior to serving.
How to Select
Although watermelons can now be found in the markets throughout the year, the season for watermelon is in the summer when they are sweet and of the best quality. The best way to choose a flavorful melon is to look at the color and quality of the flesh, which should be a deep color and absent from white streaks. If it features seeds, they should be deep in color.
Oftentimes, however, we do not have this liberty when purchasing watermelon since it is more common to buy a whole, uncut fruit. When choosing a whole watermelon, look for one that is heavy for its size with a rind that is relatively smooth and that is neither overly shiny nor overly dull. In addition, one side of the melon should have an area that is distinct in color from the rest of the rind, displaying a yellowish or creamy tone. This is the underbelly, the place that was resting on the ground during ripening, and if the fruit does not have this marking, it may have been harvested prematurely, which will negatively affect its taste, texture and juiciness.
· Wash the watermelon before cutting it. Due to its large size, you will probably not be able to run it under water in the sink. Instead, wash it with a wet cloth or paper towel.
· Depending upon the size that you desire, there are many ways to cut a watermelon. The flesh can be sliced, cubed or scooped into balls.
· Watermelon is delicious to eat as is, while it also makes a delightful addition to a fruit salad.
· Jam, sorbet and juice are some nutritious and delicious things you can make with watermelon.
· Watermelon can also be enjoyed with salt, cottage cheese, feta cheese, and/or salad greens for a delicious cool summer lunch.
· Some people like a bit of citrus such as lime juice sprinkled over the pieces for an especially refreshing snack.
· Sprinkling a dash of salt and pepper also enhances the fruit's taste.
· Blend watermelon in a blender or food processor (without the rind or seeds) for a wonderful summer beverage!
· Try a watermelon milkshake! It sounds weird, but it's amazingly good. You will want to use pureed watermelon with vanilla ice cream in a ratio of about 1/3 watermelon to 2/3 ice cream. (You can vary it depending on how strong a flavor you want, of course.) Put the watermelon into the blender or food processor first and blend it just enough to make it into mush. Put that into a separate container, then blend the vanilla ice cream by itself until you get the consistency you want. Then add the watermelon to the ice cream and blend the whole thing together. Pour it into a tall glass and serve.
· Try putting the cut pieces in a container with a flavored rum or vodka, and then let it chill for a few hours before serving.
· The rind can also be used in cooking, such as preserves and pickling.
· For easy 'grab and go' portions; halve a whole melon, then scoop out the flesh with an ice cream scoop. Store in the fridge, in a bowl. Enjoy quick, cool, sweet snacking for you and your family!
· Watermelon, with its sweet and subtle taste, can be used as a palate cleanser during meals.
· While many people are just accustomed to eating the juicy flesh of the watermelon, both the seeds and the rind are also edible. If you choose to eat the rind, it is highly suggested to purchase organic watermelon.
· Purée watermelon, cantaloupe and kiwi together. Swirl in a little plain yogurt and serve as refreshing cold soup.
· In Asian countries, roasted watermelon seeds are either seasoned and eaten as a snack food or ground up into cereal and used to make bread.
· A featured item of Southern American cooking, the rind of watermelon can be marinated, pickled or candied.
· Watermelon mixed with thinly sliced red onion, salt and black pepper makes a great summer salad.
· Watermelon is a wonderful addition to fruit salad.
· And fruit salad can be made days ahead since cut fruit, if chilled, retains its nutrients for at least 6 days.
· It's been thought that cut fruit rapidly degrades, so fruit salad, which can take 15 minutes to prepare, would have to be freshly prepared to be good.
How to Store
Yet, once cut, watermelons should be refrigerated in order to best preserve their freshness, taste and juiciness. If the whole watermelon does not fit in your refrigerator, cut it into pieces (as few as possible), and cover them with plastic wrap to prevent them from becoming dried out and from absorbing the odors of other foods.
· Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C.
· It is also a very good source of vitamin A and vitamin B6.
· In addition, watermelon is a good source of thiamin, potassium and magnesium.
· Watermelon has always been a good source of vitamins A and C, and provides potassium and fiber
· Watermelons are rich in potassium which helps in controlling blood pressure thereby ensuring the health of one's heart.
· Moreover, it also helps in preventing strokes along with reducing the risk of kidney stones and age related bone loss.
· Watermelons are a good source of Vitamin C and vitamin A which help in neutralizing free radicals thereby reducing the risk of heart disease, asthma and colon cancer along with helping in alleviating symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
· This sweet and juicy fruit is also rich in carotenoids like lycopene, beta-carotene and others. These carotenoids have antioxidant properties which reduce risk of prostate and oral cancer along with providing protection against cardiovascular disorders.
· Watermelons are a good way of increasing one's energy levels as they are rich in B vitamins which are necessary for energy production.
· Since this fruit has a higher water content and lower calorie content than other fruits, it has the ability to deliver more nutrients per calorie which makes it an excellent health product.
· In addition, the seeds of watermelon are excellent sources of protein.
· It is also rich in micro and macro nutrients like magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus and zinc.
· Eating 3 or more servings of this sweet and healthy fruit can help in lowering the risk of age-related muscular degeneration which is the primary cause of vision loss in older adults. In addition, this nutritious fruit helps in preventing erectile dysfunction and helps in improving insulin sensitivity.
· Looking at so many health benefits of this delicious tasting sweet and cool fruit, one can find no reason to stay away from it.
· For a great summer thirst-quencher, blend chunks of watermelon with a few ice cubes and a splash of lime juice. Serve with a fresh mint leaf.
· Serve cooling watermelon chunks as a side dish to balance the flavor of spicy black beans or other fiery Mexican dishes.