The origins of watermelon have been traced back to the deserts of southern Africa, where it still grows wild today. The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred about 5,000 years ago in Egypt and is depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics on walls of their ancient buildings. Watermelons were often placed in the burial tombs of kings to nourish them in the afterlife. From there, watermelons were brought to countries along the Mediterranean Sea by way of merchant ships. By the 10th century, watermelon found its way to China, which is now the world's top producer of watermelons. The 13th century found watermelons spreading through the rest of Europe via the Moors.
More than 300 varieties of watermelon are cultivated in the United States and South America, where complementary growing seasons provide a year-round supply of watermelon in an array of shapes, colors and sizes. Because there are so many varieties, they are often grouped according to characteristics, like fruit shape, rind color, pattern, and size. The most common watermelon options are:
Seeded: The classic watermelon comes in a wide range of sizes. (15-45 lb, round, long, oblong)
Seedless: Due to high demand, the majority of watermelon cultivars grown today are seedless – and they are getting redder and crisper thanks to seed breeding advancements. They are not the result of genetic engineering, but rather hybridization – the crossing of two different types of watermelons. (10-25 lb, round to oblong)
Mini: Petite “personal watermelons” are easy to handle and their thinner rinds can mean more flesh per pound. Hollow them out for a serving bowl. (1-7 lb, round)
Yellow & Orange: Generally sweeter than red-fleshed watermelon, yellow and orange varieties add a surprising element to the plate or glass. (10-30 lb, round)
Do you know how to pick a watermelon? It's as easy as 1, 2, 3. Look the watermelon over. You are looking for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents. Lift it up. The watermelon should be heavy for its size, due to the fact of its water content. Turn it over. The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun. So go get yourself a few and chill them up. So have fun with it and celebrate it!
Today, I am sharing with you two recipes that I know you will enjoy, using watermelon. “Watermelon & Pomegranate Tossed Salad”and “Marinated Grilled Chicken Breast with Watermelon-Jalapeno Salsa”….Yummy!
“Watermelon & Pomegranate Tossed Salad”
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (Pomegranate vinegar is the best)
1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest
1 small minced shallot
1/8 teaspoon stone-ground mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Dash of salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for the salad:
8 cups baby spinach (one 6-oz bag)
3/4 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
2 cups diced seedless watermelon (placed on paper towel to drain excess fluid)
Some fresh raspberries (6oz.)
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Place juice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and simmer until reduced to about 3 tablespoons and liquid is a thick syrup. Set aside. When cool, add remaining dressing ingredients, from vinegar to salt and pepper. Whip. Set aside for flavors to blend. Place spinach in a large serving bowl. Top with onion, watermelon, feta cheese, raspberries, and pomegranate seeds. Divide onto 4 salad places and drizzle with dressing.
Yield: Makes 4 servings and 3/4 cup of dressing.
Sweet watermelon perfectly complements the earthy spices, such as oregano, chili powder, and cumin as you marinate your chicken breasts.
“Marinated Grilled Chicken Breast with Watermelon-Jalapeno Salsa”
Ingredients for marinate:
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Watermelon-Jalapeno Salsa Ingredients:
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed seeded watermelon
1 cup (1/2-inch) cubed peeled ripe mango
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped seeded Jalapeño pepper (about 1 small)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator up to 4 hours, turning bag occasionally. Next prepare grill. Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill on each side or until chicken is done. Combine watermelon and remaining ingredients. Serve watermelon mixture with chicken. Delicious!
Till Next Time……………………………….........................................
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