May 25, 2013
Written by Robin Glowa
Tuesday, 05 July 2011 23:00
“It is summer, it is the solstice the crowd is cheering, the crowd is laughing in detail permanently, seriously without thought.”
— William Carlos Williams
Summertime is a spectacular season, filled with sunshine, freshness, and succulent, satisfying foods. All sorts of fruits and vegetables fill the farmers markets as the summer weeks go by, providing great gustatory inspiration for all lovers of good food.
Watermelon, one of the most beloved summer foods, is the current darling of culinary magazines, featured in recipes that utilize its sweet juiciness in everything, from exotic watermelon soup with lemongrass, to delectable salads, delicate sorbets, unusual salsas and wonderfully refreshing beverages.
Whether served simply or with a gourmet flourish, watermelon is a welcome addition to the summer table. After all, what would a picnic be without one of the massive melons?
Watermelon is a naturally luscious source of hydration with its intense water content, which has an especially cooling effect on the body. Rich in electrolytes, potassium and sodium, watermelon can help replace what we lose perspiring in the hot, summer sun. Being a fat-free choice, watermelon is a satisfying alternative to high calorie summer drinks.
Packed with some of the most important antioxidants, watermelon supplies copious amounts of vitamin C, as well as vitamin A. Watermelon provides a higher concentration of lycopene — an agent for neutralizing disease-causing free radicals and responsible for the beautiful pink color of the watermelon’s flesh — than any other fruit or vegetable.
The antioxidants found in watermelon may help reduce the severity of arthritis, as well as the risk for colon cancer, asthma, heart disease, and prostate cancer. Watermelon contains B vitamins necessary for energy production and is also a good source of thiamin and magnesium.
Related to cantaloupe, squash and pumpkin, watermelons can range from a petite, personal size to a gargantuan 90 pounds. Look for fruits with firm, unblemished skins and scrub the watermelon well before cutting it up to serve. Juicing watermelon by pureeing chunks in the blender and then straining and freezing will ensure a ready supply of summer flavor to add to lemonade or other festive drinks.
Here’s a terrific “mocktail” for summer parties:
For 4 drinks
Puree 1 cup of cubed watermelon with 1 cup white cranberry juice, 1 cup regular cranberry juice, 1/2 cup of grenadine and 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice in a blender. Strain, then divide amongst four ice cube filled glasses. Top off with plain, lemon or cranberry flavored seltzer and garnish with lemon slices and a brightly colored edible flower.
Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, is a food and wellness enthusiast who earned her certification in holistic health counseling from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University Teachers College.
She specializes in teaching healthy cooking classes for children and adults, as well as cooking presentations and wellness workshops for many local organizations.
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