Oh My Melon 1: Cut That Up!
I am not a fan of very hot weather. I am, however, a big fan of fruits that are ripe when the hot weather hits. Local berries are currently available all around central New England (including my back yard, which is hemorrhaging wild raspberries). We are also starting to get some decent looking melons around here. Few foods mirror summer as well as watermelon-sweet, delicious, and exquisitely colorful. Also, few fruits are as inexpensive when in season. I got a basket-ball sized “seedless (may contain some seeds)” melon for about 4 dollars this week; it worked out to about 60¢ per pound. That is plenty of yummy pink cubes for snacking and smoothies. The caveat- the melon must be disassembled.
I must reiterate here that I am a serious klutz. Mr. Food It Yourself will not watch me use any cutting tool more risky than a nail clipper, lest he witness a traumatic amputation. So how can a DYIeter such as myself break down a large, smooth, round, fruit and still have ten functional fingers? Very carefully, that is how. The plan is this- stabilize, bifurcate, slice, cube. Here’s how it went down:
Now, If you want a little more of a challenge and you have some space outside to get a little messy, it is evidently possible to split a watermelon with a coin. I have not tried it, but ShiftyTips has published this Instructable describing the method.
Now, all that is left is to dispose of the rind. There is, indeed, a lot of rind on a typical watermelon. Food service nutrition has a concept known as the “as purchased vs. edible portion ratio” or “AP/EP”. Essentially, the less of an item you eat the more expensive it actually is. I really want to use more of this melon to maximize the thriftiness of my seasonal buying. Well, as it turns out watermelon rind is a useful and delicious thing. You can pickle it:
Professional foodie and well known Southern Boy, Alton Brown, has this spicy looking version.
Good Housekeeping has this quick and fennel-scented offering.
You can also use watermelon rind in a stir fry! Mr. Food It Yourself and I love stir fry! We are so going to try that.
I grabbed my stoutest vegetable peeler, and removed the dark green skin from the rinds. This is universally noted as a critical step, according to everything on the internet I read concerning the subject. With just a little more time and a tiny nick on my thumb from the peeler, (yeah, I’m THAT much a klutz) I had oodles of watermelon flesh and plenty of rind for experimenting with. Even better- I had very little waste headed for the compost pile.
Summers are painfully short in New England. I love autumn here, but I want to get all I can from the warmest months. I’m super excited to try cooking watermelon rind. I’ll keep you updated with how it goes.
What summer foods have you been enjoying lately? Share in the comments.