Watermelon

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What comes to mind when you think of warm, sunny days and picnics? If you thought about sweet, juicy, and delicious watermelons then you’ve come to the right place! This week we’re featuring watermelons and let us tell you all about them.  

A member of the Cucurbitaceae family, this quintessential summer snack is power packed with nutrients. Each juicy bite has significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids. Not only are they low in calories (only 46 calories/cup) but also fat free and low in sodium, making them the perfect guilt- free treat. To learn more about the health benefits of watermelons, click here.

Here at the Hillsboro Farmers’ Market you can find all five common types of watermelons: seeded, seedless, mini (also known as personal), yellow, and orange. One of our vendors, Hermiston Melon Company, are known for a special variety of watermelon called “The Black Mamba”. Named after their dark exterior, these melons are highly sought after for their super juicy, sweet and refreshing taste. Make sure to add them to your list the next time you come visit us at the markets!

Now that you know all about benefits and varieties of watermelons, what’s the best way to pick the freshest watermelons, you ask? Well, buying watermelons at our farmers’ market takes out much of the guesswork. Just tell our vendors what your requirements are and when you plan on consuming the fruit and they’ll pick out the best one for you!

You can find out more about our watermelon vendors in our Available in July blog.

store and preserve

For ripe, uncut watermelon:

Store uncut watermelons in the fridge to preserve their freshness and prevent them from becoming dry and fibrous. Consume within 2 to 3 weeks.

For large pieces of cut watermelon:

Wrap the cut side of the melon in plastic and store it in the fridge to prevent fridge odors and preserve the moistness of the flesh. Consume within a week.

For small pieces of cut watermelon:

Place cut bite- sized pieces of watermelon in an air-tight container and store them in the fridge. Consume them within 3-4 days.

Freezing watermelons:

Cut the watermelon and remove the rind. Place the cut pieces of the melon in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer. Once solid, place them in a ziplock bag or an airtight container and use within 6 months. This technique works great if you’re planning to make popsicles, granitas, drinks or ice creams.

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Watermelon and Mint Granita

Ingredients

  • 1 small watermelon or ¼ Large watermelon (seedless/ de-seeded)

  • 1 Tbsp lime juice

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • Mint leaves (To garnish)

  • ½ cup vodka (optional)

Preparation

Puree the watermelon in a blender until it reaches a thin, even consistency.

  • Strain it through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds or lumps.

  • Add the lime juice and sugar. If you want, add vodka to the mix.

  • Pour in a large baking dish and put it in the freezer for 2 hours to chill.

  • Remove and scrape the sides and top with a fork and place it back in the freezer. Continue scraping every few hours until the granita is completely frozen or has taken a slush-like consistency (in case you added the vodka) .

TO SERVE:

  • Garnish your watermelon granita with fresh mint leaves right before serving.

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RecipesLiz Connor