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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Watermelon

I love fresh watermelon! I have very fond memories of watermelon. As a child spitting the seeds was the only form of spitting I could get away with. We always had and still have watermelon on my birthday because I seldom eat cake and when I do it is a small forkful as a taste test. Local watermelon is viewed as a summertime fruit to be eaten mainly in season. The fruit is shipped in when not in season and while the flavour is not as nice as local watermelon, it is available year round. The most often recommended methods of preserving watermelon is as a wine or pickles using the rind. I have done neither although I plan on making a small batch of the pickles this summer. Despite watermelon having such a high water content it does dry nicely. A few years back I found an old recipe for making watermelon jam. I made a small batch that was never impressive enough to make again. It was horribly sweet so we ended up using it as a topping for ice cream. Now that I'm using Pomona's Pectin for my jams and jellies I plan to make another batch of jam. Pomona's doesn't rely on sugar for gelling so the amount of sugar can be greatly reduced or even substituted with other sweeteners. I will make entries on the results of both as I do them.

Watermelon

Not only does watermelon taste good and quenches your thirst on hot summer days it is a fun food that is good for you. One cup of diced watermelon contains
51 calories, 1.0 g ptotein, 11.5 g carbs, 3 mg sodium, 0.6 g fiber, and 0.7 g fat, 0 g cholesterol [source: Dr. Art Ulene, The NutriBase Complete Book of Food Counts, 1996, New York. Pp. 720.] However, watermelon is rich in Vitamin C as well as being a good source of Vitamin A and beta-carotene. These are powerful anti-oxidants that neutralize damaging free radicals in your body. Watermelon is also a good source of Vitamins B6, B1, potassium and magnesium. However, it also contains a high level of lycopenes, even higher than tomatoes. Lycopenes lower the risk for many types of cancers especially prostate, lung and stomach but is also beneficial in reducing the risk of other types of cancers. Watermelon also helps reduce inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, arteriosclerosis and arthritis. With all of these benefits, watermelon is definitely a health food!

Cubed

Several years ago we discovered fruit smooties. These healthy drinks are great for a summer or quick breakfast as well as an after school or anytime snack. I like to keep a lot of fruits on hand including frozen fruits. Frozen cubed watermelon works lovely in fruit smooties adding not only to the flavour but the texture. The seedless watermelons are easier to prepare for this otherwise you will have to remove the seeds but that isn't as much work as it sounds.

Method: Wash the watermelon rind well and dry. Cut the watermelon into 1 - inch thick slices. Lay a slice on a cutting board. Go around the slice just into the red with a sharp knife to remove the rind. Reserve rind if making pickles otherwise compost. Cut across the slice at 1 - inch intervals. Turn the slice and cut across at 1-inch intervals to form 1 - inch cubes. [Note: cutting does not have to be precise; just guestimate] Spread the cubes onto a large, sided baking sheet. Place in freezer until frozen. Package into freezer bags. Label and freeze.

Vacuumed Sealed

Zipper style freezer bags can be used but as always, vacuum sealing with give better results. Watermelon has a tendency to get ice crystals on it even during the flash freezing stage leading to freezer burn. Vacuum sealing prevents the freezer burn. I package into quart sized vacuum sealer bags then vacuum and seal. This is roughly the amount watermelon that we would use for 6 to 8 smoothies. To use: open the bag and place as many cubes as desired in the blender with other ingredients. It is essential that any left-over cubes be resealed by placing the original vacuum seal bag with cubes into a zipper style freezer bag and removing the air with a straw. Although this method could be used initially I find it is only good for short term freezer storage. The vacuum bags tend to be heavier than zipper style freezer bags.


5 food lovers commented:

Giddy Gastronome said...

If i was stuck in a desert, I would want the watermelon for nourishment! I shall have to try your recipe, it looks mouthwatering!

Judi said...

What a great idea about freezing watermelon. Watermelon in smoothies is my all-time favorite! I think I'll give this a try. I don't have a vacuum sealer, but I do have (recently acquired and quite proud to have it!) a deep freeze.. and I dare say, the first cubed and frozen watermelon wouldn't last long enough for freezer burn to be an issue, ha!

Kathleen said...

I'm eating watermelon as I read your post, there's nothing like it, my daughter is expecting in Oct. and she can't get enough of it. I just bought it this morning and I'll bet it will be gone by the end of the weekend!

~TAMY 3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. Ironically I just posted a very low sugar watermelon jam recipe today for Scrumptious Sunday.

Garden Gnome said...

Giddy, watermelon is perfect in a desert. It is my fruit of choice when in Las Vegas :)