Photography by Alana Harris
Is there anything better on a hot summer day than an ice cold slice of fresh watermelon? We think not. This perfectly juicy, refreshing fruit is the ultimate summer snack on its own, but did you know it can be used in a variety of dishes and drinks to keep your taste buds happy and your thirst quenched? This month we have two recipes for you that make great use of this summer staple and are sure to impress the guests at your next summer soiree.
Let’s face it, August in Florida can be downright sweltering. Over 90% water, this relative of the pumpkin and cucumber helps keep you hydrated and has a cooling effect on hot days. Watermelons are rich in vitamin C and also contain lycopene, an antioxidant in the carotenoid family that’s been shown to help prevent certain types of cancer, support heart health and act as an anti-inflammatory. Lycopene is responsible for the signature bright pink color found in most watermelons.
Most stores these days offer pre-cut melon, but if you’re buying a whole melon, we’ve got some tips to help you pick the perfect one. The heavier a watermelon for its size, the higher its water content. A high water content indicates that the melon is ripe, contains more nutrients and has a vibrant flavor.
Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint
If possible, try to find goat or sheep’s milk feta, preferably the larger chunks sold in delis or cheese markets. Block feta tends to have a richer flavor than pre-crumbled feta. This salad is best when made just prior to serving.
- 6 cups cubed seedless watermelon, chilled
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled by hand
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives
Place watermelon chunks into a large salad bowl. Pour olive oil, lime juice and chopped mint over the watermelon and toss gently to coat. Add the crumbled feta and sliced red onions into the bowl and stir gently to incorporate everything together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the olives across the top. Chill until ready to serve.