Melon Berry Fruit Salad with a Mint-Lime Dressing

Melon Berry Fruit Salad

Orgainc WatermelonYou know summer has officially started when you can make yourself a fruit salad with in season fresh fruits.

Thanks to our friends to the south (Mexico) and their sub-tropical weather, we can have watermelon before it is even harvests here in the U.S.A.

Watermelon is  a perfect summer fruit to grow, harvest, and eat as it is a wonderful and juicy hydrating fruit.

Sliced cross section of a seedless organic watermelonAs you sweat on a hot summer day, while at the beach, working in the garden, or just taking an afternoon walk, you lose vital electrolytes, which includes sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and watermelon is a better chose to re-hydrate, than Gatorade.

Watermelon is all natural, and has the right balance of the electrolytes needed to keep your heart beating, and to replace the water needed to keep you cool.

Our feature fruit salad includes watermelon and here is what you will need to prepare the Melon Berry Fruit Salad with a Mint-Lime Dressing.

1/2 a seedless watermelon

1 cantaloupe

6 ounces raspberries

6 ounces blueberries

6 ounces blackberries

zest and juice of one lime

2 tablespoons raw honey

1 tablespoon water or watermelon juice

1 tablespoon mint leaves, minced

6-10 mint leaves, for garnishing, optional

Mint-Lime Dressing

watermelon juiceUse a melon ball scoop to create bite size pieces of both melons. A the melon to a large bowl. Next add the berries to the melon. Toss gently, so as not to crush the berries.

In a small bowl , combine the zest and lime juice, honey, water, and minced mint leaves. We used the juice of the watermelon in place of water.

Drizzle dressing over mixed fruit salad to coat.

Use the remaining mint leaves to garnish the salad.

Melon Berry Fruit Salad with a Mint-Lime Dressing

 

 

Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours before serving.

Before serving gently mix the fruit again to coat with any juice and dressing that may have gathered at the bottom of the bowl.

 

 

 

 

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Choosing the Right Honeydew Melon

Choosing the Right Honeydew Melon

Honeydew is another summer favorite fruit. If you missed the prior articles about the watermelon and cantaloupe you can read about them here: Articles on Melons.

It’s so disappointing when you get a melon that just doesn’t taste good. It may not be sweet enough or not ripe enough. It just makes the whole melon eating experience a let-down. That’s why we’re going to ask Mark a vendor at our local Farmer’s Market to show us how to pick out just the right honeydew melon so you can get the most flavorful, enjoyable melon possible.

Squeeze the ends of the honeydew melon. You want them to have a little bit of a give to it, as that means it’s ripe.

Look at the color of the outside of the honeydew melon, the more yellow it is, the better. Look for a golden hue to it.

The skin will have almost a sticky texture when it’s at its ripest.

Brown spots on the rind of a honeydew melon are kind of like brown spots on a banana. That’s where the fruit is the sweetest. So don’t shy away from a few brown spots.

Pay attention to the shape of your honeydew melon. You want it to be spherical in shape for the tastiest melon.

Weight matters, too. Because melons consist of mostly water, you want one that is heavier than it appears. This will be the juiciest melon.

Use all of your senses when checking your honeydew melon. Give it a smell. If it has a nice, pleasant aroma, then it’s going to taste good too.

Mark grabbed a honeydew melon up to his ear and started shaking it side to side. He said, “If you can hear the seeds rolling around in there, then it’s ripe.” I tried it, but couldn’t hear the seeds. He said that one takes practice.

Tapping on the melon with your knuckle and hearing a hollow sound, means the melon is ripe.

I asked Mark about honeydews that are orange inside?

orange flesh honeydew

An organic orange flesh honeydew…Picture credit: http://www.burpee.com

Mark said, “If you find honeydew with orange-flesh, that’s okay. This is a new kind of honeydew which is easier to tell if it’s ripe, the more orange it is, the better. However, be warned – it might not have as sweet of a taste as your typical honeydew melon.”

Make also said that if f a honeydew melon is picked too soon, that is, before it turns yellow, it will never ripen. He also said it’s best to avoid buying melons past August, because you probably aren’t going to get a very tasty melon unless you live in California where they are grown.

Mark pointed out that the most important thing when choosing just the right honeydew melon is to pay attention to the color of the rind. A honeydew melon starts out green. If it remains green or even has a greenish hue to it, then it’s not at all ready yet. Watch out for green spots too. This means it’s not ripe yet either. And it’s not going to get that way with time like bananas will. Honeydews don’t keep ripening after their picked.

Honeydew melon is really a melon you have to buy to eat right away. It doesn’t get better if you buy it early and let it sit in the sun. You also want to store it at room temperature.  However, after it has been cut into you will need to store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. This will help keep it fresh for up to two weeks.

Now go out and pick your perfect honeydew melon and then enjoy all of its sweet, watery goodness. You’ll never pick a disappointing melon again, thanks to the tips Mark shared with us on how to choose the best honeydew melon.

 

Header image credit: Epicurus

 

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Interesting Facts about Watermelons

Interesting Facts about Watermelons

The past week we have been considering this summers fruits, how to enjoy them, and how to pick a ripe one for eating. If you missed those articles here is each one you can link too:  Ten Ways to Beat the Heat with Summer Melons , How to Choose a ripe Cantaloupe , and How to choose and Store Watermelon.

Our last article was about choosing a ripe watermelon and how to store it properly. What do you know about the watermelon, other than it is good eating and makes a great summertime treat?  Read on for some interesting watermelon facts that may surprise you.

* Watermelon contains a lot of health benefits. It’s good for the heart and it is even believed to help prevent many well-known cancers.

* Some consider it to be a vegetable and not a fruit. While its sweet taste makes most say fruit, it is actually grown like a vegetable and harvested as such as well. It comes from a plant similar to what a pumpkin and other gourds come from. When the rind is used for pickling purposes or stir fried or stewed, it is being used like a vegetable. However, most commonly it is known as a fruit. The same is true of a tomato, seen as a vegetable, but is actually a fruit.

* Every part of the watermelon can be eaten.

* Watermelon is believed to come from Africa and was first cultivated as early as 2000 B.C. It is believed that it was used to refresh travelers as they traveled through Africa, and was also used as canteens. It came to the United States with African slaves, and the term watermelon appeared first in the English dictionary in 1615.

First seedless watermelon produced in 1939

First seedless watermelon variety grown in 1939

* The first seedless watermelon was introduced in 1939, by treating with acid on the blooming flowers before they were pollinated.

* It is said that, by weight, watermelon is the most consumed melon in the United States.

Japans cube watermelon

Square or cubed Watermelons Grown in Japan

* There are more than 1200 different varieties of watermelon. They even come in different shapes – including square melons grown in Japan (view latest news of Japans cubed-watermelon here…).

* If you have sun, bees, and water, you can grow watermelon. You will also need a lot of room. Watermelon is best planted in rows 8-12 feet apart. It takes about 3 months for a watermelon to be ready to harvest.

* Watermelons must be harvested by hand and not by machine because they are very fragile.

* August 3 is considered national watermelon day. So remember to eat plenty of watermelon on this day!

* Watermelon contains more than 90% water.

* The world’s heaviest watermelon was grown in Arkadelphia, Arkansas by Lloyd Bright. It weighed 268.8 pounds (121.93 kg).

* American comedian Gallagher became famous for smashing watermelon on stage with his Sledge-O-Matic. It was wildly popular prop comedy, especially in the 1980’s.

* Mark Twain once described watermelon like this: “It is the chief of this world’s luxuries, king by the grace of God over all the fruits of the earth. When one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat. It was not a Southern watermelon that Eve took; we know it because she repented.”

Everything you could possibly ever have wanted to know about watermelons. Where it came from, to how it is grown, its health benefits, and even how well liked it is by famous people. Do you have any facts you would like to share with us? Just leave it in the comments below, thanks.

Return again for information on Choosing the Right Honeydew Melon.

 

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How to Choose and Store Watermelon

How to Choose and Store Watermelon
With the onset of summer we start to think about summer fruits, like watermelon. This is always a favorite treat in the summer because of how refreshing and light it is. But, nothing is worse though than biting into a watermelon that has gone bad or just wasn’t ripe enough to begin with. So you want to make sure you choose the right watermelon from the get go, and then also make sure you store it correctly(check out our article on How to Chose a Ripe Cantaloupe).

Here are some tips from Mark a vender at our local Farmers Market to make sure you get the most out of your watermelon this summer.

Choosing the Right Watermelon

Mark says, “You need to decide if you want a seeded watermelon or a seedless watermelon. There’s no difference in appearance between the two watermelons. The only difference is convenience, though I personally feel the seedless watermelon has a sweeter taste than the seeded melon.”

Mark showed us the easiest method for picking out the perfect watermelon is to give it a little tap on the side. If it sounds solid it’s not ripe, or if it sounds thick it isn’t quite ripe chosing a ripe watermeloneither. But if it sounds hollow then it’s ripe and just right.

After tapping on the melon and hearing that hollow sound don’t pick up that melon just yet, Mark says take notice of the melons appearance. A bright, green-colored skin that’s free of cuts and is firm and symmetrical is what you want to look for. You don’t want one that is narrow on one end or misshapen, because this means it grew in bits and spurts. It should also feel heavier than it looks. Since watermelon is 90% water (which is what makes it so refreshing), you want plenty of water in your watermelon. More water means it’s nice and ripe, giving it a much sweeter taste.

Now that you have picked the perfect watermelon for your summer event, you want to make sure you store it correctly so it lasts longer.

How to Store Watermelon

Mark advises storing your watermelon is in a dark, cool place, like a basement if you have one. But if not, then the next best place is in the refrigerator. This keeps the melon from rotting. Not only does it keep it fresh, but the coolness will also make it a much more refreshing summer treat.

Once you have cut into your watermelon, you want to make sure you tightly wrap the opened end with plastic wrap to store in the refrigerator. If it’s cubed or balled, just place it in a tightly sealed glass or ceramic container. If you sliced it, just place some plastic wrap over the exposed edge. This way it won’t attract the other flavors and scents from the refrigerator and change its taste.

Mark says your melon should last about a week in the refrigerator.

There you have it – the facts on how to choose and store a watermelon this summer. Look for our next article on – Choosing the Right Honeydew Melon -.

 

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Ten Ways to Beat the Heat with Summer Melons

Ten Ways to Beat the Heat with Summer Melons

Watermelon, honeydew melon, and cantaloupe are the three most common and loved melons, and they are all melons which are mostly consumed throughout the summer months.

From April until August its melon season throughout earth’s northern hemisphere. Consuming these melons while in season should be about more than just the fact that they taste good and are supper refreshing. They contain vitamins and minerals, including large amounts of water, which is hydrating to the body.

Here are ten wonderful ways to enjoy melons in the summer.

Watermelon Basil and Goat cheese

Image Credit: deansheremet.tumblr.com

1. A nice hunk of juicy watermelon will help beat the heat. If you feel watermelon is a little too bland for your taste, then just cube up some melon and toss it with a little feta or goat cheese and some balsamic vinegar and olive oil sprinkled with some fresh basil. You’ll have a simple, refreshing, grown-up treat that’s sure to help you beat the heat this summer.

2. Make a delicious summer soup with pureed honeydew melon and cantaloupe. Chill it and add some fresh mint leaf for an extra refreshing treat.

3. Make a refreshing drink out of the melons. Whether it’s a watermelon martini or just a sparkling water drink garnished with your favorite melon, it’s sure to help you beat the heat this summer.

4. Make a watermelon smoothie or a melon parfait for a treat in the heat.

5. A fruit salad with all of your favorite melons in it will cool you down and be light and refreshing enough to help keep you feeling cool and breezy.

Melon Ball Ice Cubes

Image Credit: laylita.com

6. Using a melon scooper, make melon balls with your favorite melon and freeze them and add to fresh water. It will make your water have a nice sweet taste as the melon balls thaw, also it will cool you off while providing a great refreshment (link here for a great recipe on preparing Melon Ball Ice Cubes).

7. If you don’t want any melon in your ice cubes, just make a frosty granita by pureeing your melon. Mix it with some ginger ale, lemon juice, and lime juice; then freeze it. Give it a stir every half hour or so and you have a wonderful cooling slushy-like dessert.

8. Melons are even great as a salsa for a nice light dinner dish. It’s refreshing and tasty with a nice grilled piece of chicken.

9. Try all the different types of melons. If you can get your hands on something other than cantaloupe, watermelon, or honeydew, then you should try them for a different treat to beat the summer heat. Melons like Casaba melon, for a sweet and spicy flavor the Crenshaw melon, the Persian melon, and the sweet honey-like taste of the yellow flesh watermelon.

10. Enjoy fresh melons with your friends – preferably by the pool or some other body of water. Nothing says fun and summer like watermelon at the beach with the people you love the most. So get out there, have a good time, and beat the heat with your melon in hand and your toes in the water.

Melons are the perfect summer beat-the-heat food because of the large amounts of water they contain. Water helps thin the blood which means your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump the blood through your veins. So even if you’re not a big fan of drinking water, just eating these watery melons will do so much to help you stay ultra-cool and hydrated. Just grab your favorite melon today and beat the heat this summer!

Here’s our recommendation for a great salad using watermelon: Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad.Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wonderful Beverages From Mexico

Wonderful Beverages From Mexico

Splendid Recipes and More (SRandM) present’s another post with Norma our guest blog speaker on the Tastes of Mexico. If you missed the last three conversations with Norma link here and scroll to Speaker Norma spoke May. 4-8, 2014 on the Tastes of Mexico.

Today Norma is going to present some great beverages from Mexico. What are they Norma?

Norma: Classic Margaritas on the Rocks, and Watermelon Aqua Fresca.

SRandM: OK so let’s get started.

Norma: I think the key to making a classic margarita is striking the right balance between your tequila of choice and the orange-flavored liqueur you pair with it. Strong flavored tequila needs a strong-flavored orange liqueur to stand up to it. As a result, the following is a more of a formula than a true recipe. Use your favorite tequila and orange-flavored liqueur, such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier.

SRandM: Can you use any flavor you like other than orange?

Norma: Yes, and actually a true Margarita has no flavoring other than lime. But with the new generation of Mexicans, their changing things up.

So you will need

1.5 oz. tequila

1.5 oz. orange-flavored liqueur

1.25 oz. freshly squeeze lime juice

cocktail shaker full of ice and add the tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice

Fill a cocktail shaker full of ice and add the tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice.

Classic Margarita on the Rocks

Shake vigorously to combine and pour into salt-rimmed margarita glasses filled with ice. Serve with a wedge of lime, if desired.

Note this is a strong drink when first poured. The flavors will mellow a bit as the ice melts.

SRandM: OK Norma, while I enjoy this Margarita you just made…what do you have for us next?

Norma: Will I have a drink that is light and refreshing. It’s a popular drink in Mexico and is perfect for hot summer afternoons. It can be made with any number of fresh fruits, but melons are the most popular. While this beverage is non-alcoholic, rum or tequila and triple sec can be added to create a delicious adults-only beverage.

I am going to prepare a  Watermelon Aqua Fresca. Here is what you will need:

6 cups watermelon, seeded

1¼ cup water

1½ limes, juiced

4 tablespoons honey

½ lime, sliced

Fresh mint leaves

ice

Add the watermelon, water and lime juice to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If any seeds or large chunks remain, strain through a sieve to remove.

Pour the blended juice into a pitcher and stir in honey until blended, though you can replace the honey sugar. Now crush the mint leaves with your fingers and put them in the bottom of each glass. Fill the glasses with ice and top with watermelon mixture. Garnish each glass with a slice of lime or fresh mint leaves, if desired and enjoy the freshness.

Watermelon Aqua Fresca

SRandM: Norma you have out done yourself today with these wonderful beverages. So what will you present next time?

Norma: How about  Pico de Gallo and Homemade Flour Tortillas?

SRandM: Looing forward to it Norma. To our readers of Splendid Recipes and More, you know were to return for more great Tastes of Mexico from our guest speaker, Norma.

Link Here for: Tastes of Mexico with Pico de Gallo and Flour Tortillas 

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Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

 

We went shopping for some fruits and vegetables and I found a good watermelon. The batch of melons we were examining were from Mexico. The watermelons were all little girl enjoying a sweet watermelonthe same weight and the same shape. If your asking how is that possible, it is because we bought it at Cost Co. All of the fruits and vegetables they stock have to be to their standards, that is shape, size, and weight. Especially if the produce is sold in singles, like watermelons. As they have no scales to weigh the produce, they need to be the same weight.

With that said, you may think that every watermelon in the bunch is equally as ripe and sweet. But not so. How is one able to choose the right melon?

I found this image on-line that is self explanatory. It shows how you can select the right melon, so when you cut it up and take your first bit, you won’t be dissatisfied with a non-sweet, pithy watermelon.

choosing a rip watermelon

Once you have your rip, sweet watermelon, you need to try this wonderful salad: Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad.

Here is what you will need:

chopped watermelon

Wow, doesn’t that melon look rip and juicy. You need  1 ripe and sweet watermelon, cubed at desired size, 5-7 pieces per salad plate. You will use between 1/4 and 1/2 of the melon. It all depends on how many plates you will be serving.

ingredients both for the Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad and the vinaigrette

In addition you will need:

1 shaved fennel bulb set in ice water to crisp

1/8 cup toasted hazelnuts, broken into small pieces

1 oz. goat cheese, crumbled into small pieces

1 cup Tender Greens lettuce mix (variety of lettuce and greens)

1/2 shallot, minced

The shallot will be used in the Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette.

ingredients for Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette

Along with the shallots you will need the following to make the Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette to mix with the leafy greens:

5 chive stems, finely chopped

3 basil leaves, finely sliced (I forgot to mark that on the image. That is what is in the jar in the back ground)

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon honey

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¾ cup olive oil

 Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette

 

Whisk together shallots, chives, basil, honey and balsamic; slowly add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

preparing hazel nuts, and anise for the Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

 

Next remove the green top from the fennel and shave the bulb allowing the shaved parts to fall into a pie plate full of  ice water to crisp the shavings. What ever method you want to use, chop the hazel nuts. I have a Progress-o Chopper in among my kitchen arsenal.

 

mixing salad, adding vinaigrette

 

In a large bowl gently toss tender greens, crisp fennel, toasted hazelnut, add some salt and pepper to taste. Next add 2 tbsp. of the vinaigrette together with the leafy greens and incorporate well.

Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

 

Plate the leafy greens mixture. Place cubed watermelon on salad mix, about 5 to 7 cubed pieces. Crumble goat cheese on top. Finish with drizzled vinaigrette around salad.

If you desire to add meat to this salad, cook up 12 to 16 oz. of pork bacon; but not crispy. Cut each strip into 5 or 6 slices. Top the bacon after adding watermelon and then top with goat cheese.

Take this salad to your next Pot Luck or Summer Picnic in the Park and nobody will stop talking about the person who brought that tasty and delectable salad.

This recipe adopted from: Tender Greens 

 

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