National Watermelon Day 2015: Three sweet and savory recipes to celebrate summer's end

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By: Danielle Waldron
dwaldron@flavor574.com

John Walker/Flickr

Even if you weren’t taught to remember compass directions as “Never eat salty watermelon,” it’s still considered just plain weird to eat salted watermelon in some circles. 

Monday, Aug. 3, is National Watermelon Day, according to Food.com. It’s a good time in the season to celebrate the juicy fruit. 

Watermelon isn’t in season in Indiana until the middle or end of July, according to the Indiana Department of Agriculture, and it becomes pretty obvious when the deep green melons are piled high in bins at roadside food and produce stands

This writer’s mention of sprinkling salt on slices of watermelon drew raised eyebrows and questioning looks from some and affirmations from others. After taking the question to Elkhart Truth and Flavor 574 readers to settle the debate, we learned that opinions on the matter are a lot more split than we thought. 

 

What’s the saying to remember compass directions, “Never eat salty watermelon?” We want to know…

Posted by Flavor 574 on Tuesday, July 14, 2015

 

All we want on hot summer days is a big ol’ slice of watermelon, so we want you to help us settle this age-old debate…

Posted by The Elkhart Truth on Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Some readers gave other suggestions for serving watermelon they say are tried and true, including: 

  • Tajin, a chili-lime seasoning salt 
  • Salt and pepper
  • Soaked with vodka
  • Cinnamon sugar  

Whether you douse it with seasoning or eat it plain (“What kind of monster puts salt on watermelon?” — Truth reader Lindsey Riddle), these three sweet and savory recipes are all great ways to enjoy watermelon as summer winds to a close. 

WATERMELON, ARUGULA AND FETA SALAD
From Lori Akey, inside sales manager/national accounts at The Elkhart Truth

Ingredients

For the vinaigrette: 

  • ¼ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed 
  • ¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed (about 2 lemons) 
  • ¼ cup cup shallots, minced 
  • 1 tbsp. honey 
  • ½ cup high-quality olive oil 
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt 
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper 

For the salad: 

  • 3 cups baby arugula, washed and spun dry 
  • ⅛ seedless watermelon, rind removed and cut into 1-inch cubes 
  • 12 oz. feta cheese, diced into ½-inch pieces 
  • 1 cup whole fresh mint leaves, julienned 

Directions

  1. Whisk together orange and lemon juice, shallots, honey, salt and pepper. 
  2. Slowly pour in olive oil, whisking constantly, to form emulsion. Store covered in the refrigerator if not using within an hour. 
  3. Place arugula, watermelon, feta and mint in a large bowl. Drizzle with enough vinaigrette to coat greens lightly and toss well. Taste for seasonings and serve immediately. 

WATERMELON SORBET
From Cincy Shopper

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1 cup water 
  • 8 cups watermelon, seedless 
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice 

Directions

  1. In a small pan, add sugar and water and bring to boil. Cook until sugar is dissolved and set aside to cool. 
  2. Puree watermelon in batches and place in large bowl. 
  3. Add sugar syrup and lemon juice. Mix well. 
  4. Put in 9- by-13-inch dish, cover and let freeze until firm. 
  5. Puree frozen mixture and serve. 

WATERMELON GAZPACHO
From Ricki Heller

Ingredients

  • 4 cups roughly chopped seedless watermelon, plus 6 cups diced 
  • 2 cups tomatoes, diced 
  • 1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced 
  • ½ cup red pepper, diced 
  • 2 tbsp. red onion, diced 
  • 3 tbsp. basil, finely chopped 
  • 3 tbsp. mint, finely chopped 
  • 3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice 
  • 1 tsp. lime zest
  • 2 tsp. minced ginger 
  • ½ tsp. green serrano chile, minced 
  • ½ tbsp. natural salt 
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper 

Directions

  1. Put the 4 cups of chopped watermelon into the blender and puree on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until liquefied. Pour into serving bowl. Add 6 cups diced watermelon and all remaining ingredients. 
  2. Stir to combine well. Adjust flavors and seasoning to taste. 
  3. Cover and let chill in a refrigerator for at least three hours, at least 12 to 24 hours before serving. 
 
Follow digital producer Danielle Waldron on Twitter @DanielleWaldron
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