It Wouldn't be Summer without Watermelon

watermelon-cucumber-overhead.jpg

When we were kids spending the summer in Atlanta, my father used to take my brother and I to the farmers market to load up the car with fresh peas by the basket (excellent for opening up and having pea fights, btw) and ears of corn by the bushel.  As part of our chores we had the task of shucking, shelling, or peeling vegetables for hours at a time out on the hot balcony, but were often rewarded with ice cream and movies or my favorite, Six Flags amusement park.  Then one day, knowing how much we liked them, Dad decided to surprise us with 13 whole watermelons.  Maybe he got them on sale - 12 for $1, with the thirteenth thrown in like a baker's dozen - but after we lugged them inside, he lined them up on floor all along the hallway outside the kitchen and ordered, "You kids better eat them dang watermelons!"  Dad hated to waste money.  "Thirteen?!?!" I cried.  They were good and we slowly worked our way through them, but after that summer, I did not eat another piece of watermelon for about 22 years.  As much as I loved the sweet, juicy fruit, I was all watermelon-ed out.  Uh, uh.  Not crossing these lips. Fast forward to the 1990s... I can't remember if I was tired of avoiding certain fruit salads, or whether I read how beneficial it was for me on the Blood-Type Diet, but I bought a small container full on a whim at the bodega on 76th & York, and tried watermelon again for the first time since that long ago summer. "Mmmm.  It's delicious!" I thought.  All on it's own?  How did we ever put salt on it and ruin this pure sweetness?  I resolved the fruit had to come back into my list of summer favorites.

Since that auspicious day in New York, I've broadened my watermelon repertoire to include salads and salsas, as well as margaritas and juice drinks.  And although most of us only think of watermelon as being extremely, um, watery and aiding hydration, it turns out its benefits include anti-inflammatory properties and reducing body fat.  It also helps cardiovascular function and is rich in potassium.  Donc, with this catchy little tune running through my head and a quarter of a watermelon calling my name from the fridge, I had to make something quick and lovely to wash down my almond butter and quinoa cakes.  Thank you, Vitamix!  On this gray, rainy day in Paris, why not blend up a glass full of summer deliciousness?

watermelon cucumber overhead

Watermelon Cucumber Mint Juice

1/4 seedless watermelon (rind removed) 1/2 cucumber, peeled (seeds optional) 1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves 1 lime, juiced Superfood boost: 1/4 - 1/2 tsp matcha green tea powder (optional)

Combine all in a high-powered blender. Using tamper if necessary to get the flow going, blend from low to high till smooth. Strain through a mesh sieve into a large bowl using a rubber spatula to scrape sides. Transfer back into blender container to pour. Garnish with cucumber slice and mint.  Serves 2.

It's so refreshing. Enjoy!

watermelon cucumber plate

watermelon cucumber smoothie

For kicks and giggles, anyone from the US of "a certain age" should remember the '80s commercial ditty, 'Summer Summer fruits... Just wouldn't be summer without them'.  Hmm... Nectarines.  I think I'll go buy some nectarines.   ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj494021grE

À tout à l’heure…