‘What a Melon’!

The Great Summer Refresher

By Shauna Lindzon

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? OK, I’m just going to say this out loud – watermelon is awesome!  It is sweet, refreshing, and soooo satisfying on a hot summer day.  Watermelon, being made up of over 90% water, is a great way to hydrate yourself.  It also provides vitamins, minerals, and a healthy plant chemical called lycopene which gives watermelon its characteristic red colour.  Watermelon has higher amounts of lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable, and studies suggest that it benefits cardiovascular health, and may help in lowering the risk of certain cancers.  Fun fact – seedless watermelons tend to have more lycopene than those with seeds!

Did you know that every part of the watermelon is edible, including the rind and the seeds?  If you are looking for a creative way to use the rind, how about slicing it up and pickling it?  You would use the same technique as pickling a cucumber with sugar, salt, vinegar, and spices.  You can also slice the rind thinly and add it to a stir fry along with other vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower.  It has a nice crunchy texture once lightly stir fried and a mildly sweet taste.

If you buy a watermelon that has many black seeds, you can rinse them and dry them out like you would pumpkin seeds.  Roast them in the oven and sprinkle them with some coarse salt.  This is a tasty snack that is loaded with vitamins and minerals.  I love a good ‘no waste’ strategy when it comes to fruits and vegetables.

Once cubed up, watermelon pairs well with a salty cheese like feta and fresh herbs such as basil or mint.  You can even turn this into a healthy meal by adding chickpeas and sunflower seeds; especially when it is so hot outside, and you are looking for a raw salad without a lot of preparation.

Watermelon works well as a dessert because of its inherent sweetness.  You can grill it up on a barbecue and top it with some ice cream and fresh mint.  Or you can build it up as a cake by adding layers of different colours and types of fruit.  A quick and easy dessert is to thread it through a skewer with other melon and grapes.  To make a delicious slushie, I like pureeing it with some lime juice, frozen strawberries, and fresh mint. Topping it off with chia seeds is a nice way to decorate it and if you have leftovers, it freezes perfectly into popsicles.  There is nothing else that is that refreshing on a warm summer day!

Shauna Lindzon is a dietitian and nutritionist.  She is a program developer and nutrition leader at Wellspring Cancer Support Network and enjoys doing virtual nutrition cooking classes and corporate wellness lectures.  For more information about Shauna visit shaunalindzon.com and follow her on Instagram @shaunalin.