I can't believe August is coming to an end! I want a few more days to play in the sun and eat ice cream and watermelon.
If you're like me and you thought that watermelon was nothing more than a watery, sugary treat, think again. Watermelon is both delicious and nutritious. Fat-free and low in calories (unlike that ice cream!), watermelon supplies good amounts of Vitamins A, B6 and C. The red varieties also have a significant amount of lycopene, an antioxidant that research suggests reduces the risks for some cancers. Watermelon actually has more lycopene than tomatoes.
Watermelon is a good source of potassium, which helps control blood pressure -- making it the perfect snack. Eating watermelon is a safe alternative to taking energy drinks prior to exercise. It also hydrates you due to its high water content as opposed to caffeine filled energy drinks that dehydrate you. There are only 96 calories in two cups of sweet watermelon, and its high liquid content makes you feel full.
To find the ripest watermelon look for one that is heavy for its size, free from cuts or bruises and has a yellow spot where it sat on the ground ripening. Store watermelons at room temperature for up to a week. Cut watermelon should be wrapped in cellophane and kept in the refrigerator. Even though you don’t eat the rind you should wash your melon before cutting. (Source: National Watermelon Promotion Board)
For an exotic treat, put some watermelon chunks in the blender, puree and put into ice cube trays and freeze. Add to your favorite lemonade or try this delicious recipe:
Berry Watermelon Lemonade
6 cups fresh watermelon cubes (seeds removed)
1/4 cup raspberries or strawberries
1 cup of water
1/3 cup of sugar (super fine dissolves faster)
1/2 cup of lemon juice
Place watermelon, berries and water in blender: puree until smooth. To remove berry seeds put liquid through mesh strainer. Stir in lemon juice and sugar until dissolved. Chill in refrigerator for about an hour.