In Season: Watermelon

By Wendy McMillan

Nothing completes a picnic like a big chunk of watermelon. And while taste alone makes this fruit a standout, it’s a nutritional gem, too: One cup of watermelon delivers more than 21 percent of the daily value of vitamin C and 18 percent of vitamin A—in fewer than 49 calories. Watermelon also packs plenty of B vitamins and potassium, known for helping to control blood pressure, and its high water content (92 percent) makes it an ultra-hydrating nosh. Some easy ways to serve this summertime favorite:

Grilled Sea Bass With Watermelon Salsa
In a small bowl, combine 2 cups diced, seedless watermelon; 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion; 1 cup chopped, peeled, and seeded cucumber; 1 tablespoon lime juice; and 2 tablespoons minced cilantro. Serve over two grilled sea bass fillets, rubbed with a mixture of 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and a dash of pepper.

Chilled Watermelon Soup
In a blender, mix 3 cups seeded, cubed watermelon; 1 cup stemmed strawberries; 1 tablespoon lime juice; and 1/2 cup low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt. Blend until smooth, cover, and chill at least one hour.

Watermelon Rind Pickles
Combine approximately 1 pound cubed watermelon rind, trimmed of dark green and pink, with 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup sugar, 4 cups water (or to cover), 2 cinnamon sticks, and 1 teaspoon grated ginger. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until rind is near translucent, about an hour. Pack pickle and syrup mixture in sterilized glass jars, and chill 24 hours. Keep refrigerated.

Spinach and Watermelon Salad With Poppy Seed Dressing
For dressing, combine 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 teaspoons honey, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, and 1 teaspoon poppy seeds. In a bowl, toss 4 cups fresh, washed spinach leaves and 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion with dressing. Top with 2 cups cubed, seedless watermelon, and 3/4 cup crumbled feta.