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Succulent Watermelons

How to select and cook with watermelon.

Melons are lovely and watermelons are fantastic. They can be large, pink and packed full of juicy flavor. They are a refreshing welcome to a long, hot summer night. Watermelons come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. The flesh of the watermelon can be red, pink or cream colored. They can be seedless or have seeds.

How to Select a Ripe Watermelon
The best melons come in the summer months. The heavier the watermelon the better. Hit the side of the watermelon with your palm. If you hear a hollow ring, that is a good thing. It should not sound like a dull thud. If the seeds rattle when you shake that melon, then it’s too ripe. There shouldn’t be any soft spots on the melon. If the melon has a pale bottom, it means the melon was ripened on the vine and not in transit.

“Most people have a hard time distinguishing a ‘thud’ from a ‘hollow’. To train your ear, try to thump a full bottle of vegetable oil, liquid laundry detergent or any other liquid that comes in a plastic bottle. Be sure to hold it at the neck. Compare that ‘thud’ with the ‘hollow’ sound of a bottle that is only about 1/3 to 1⁄2 full. Take your new-found thumping ear to the market and pick the perfect treat!”

How to Store your Melons
You can refrigerate them for up to 1 week or store in a cool, dark place for 3-4 days. If you cut your watermelon you should wrap it in plastic wrap or in an air tight container for 1-2 days.

Health Benefits of Watermelon

Recently, in Japan a black watermelon sold for $6,100. It’s rare color and sweet flesh made it a must buy for some wealthy dude. He must have known that watermelon is the lycopene leader in fresh produce, having higher concentrations of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. In fact, fresh watermelon contains higher levels of lycopene than fresh tomatoes - a 2-cup serving of watermelon contains an average of 18.16 mg and one medium-sized tomato contains 4 mg. The bottom line is that watermelons are very sexy!

Uses of Watermelon
Personally, I love watermelon that has been chilled in the refrigerator for about an hour. Just slice it and eat it in its naked state. Watermelon are great as desserts, in sauces, in salads, in virgin and alcoholic drinks such as martinis or margaritas. For a savory twist, try grilling it with some salt.


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