I remember the exact occasion when I discovered how sublime a bite into a slice of watermelon feels against the mid July heat. I was fifteen and I was in Tel Aviv having dinner with some friends near the beach. It was hot, humid and the air was heavy. But when the waiter brought abatiach to the table, I realized how restoring and refreshing that huge melon is, especially when the temperature rises. Its flesh is hard enough to produce a pleasant crunch, but soft enough to melt in your mouth releasing its cold, sweet juice.
If that amazing summer gift wasn’t enough, watermelon is also great for our health, as it contains a great amount of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are substances capable of neutralizing free radicals in the body. This is important, because free radicals cause inflammation that can lead to diseases such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. By providing antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), and in the case of red watermelon, lycopene, watermelon can help us protect ourselves against that damage.
With no need to turn the oven on (who wants to do that in the summer?), here are some cool and pretty cooling recipes that will help you discover a whole new side of the precious fruit.
Watermelon Salad with Feta and Lemon Mint Dressing
One adjective can define this recipe: REFRESHING! This salad is tangy, crunchy, slightly sweet and mint-y and the feta cheese adds some protein, calcium, saltiness and creaminess to the juiciness of the summer fruits it’s paired with. Plus, it’s incredibly good for you and fast to prepare. Click here for recipe.
Lemongrass and Ginger-Scented Chilled Watermelon Soup
Borrowing some Southeast Asian flavors, this soup is interesting, unique, a bit daring and very easy to like (and to make). It does require to be refrigerated overnight, as it will season itself while you are asleep, but it’s worth it! Plus it’s a great use of leftover, almost stale bread hanging in the counter. Click here for recipe.
Watermelon Granita with Lime and Lavender
Granita, which originated in Italy, is similar to shaved or Italian ices. It is a light, refreshing concoction made of frozen flakes of seasonal produce. Granitas can be sweetened (think of slushies) and eaten as a light dessert, or mildly flavored and served as a palate cleanser between courses in a meal. Despite their fancy-sounding name, they are a breeze to make and a delight to eat. This particular one features watermelon that is only slightly sweetened with raw agave nectar and perfumed with lime zest and a touch of dry lavender. Please make sure that if you decide to use lavender, it is “culinary” lavender, which means that it wasn’t sprayed with pesticides, and therefore, safe to eat. Click here for recipe.