Wet and Wild Watermelon

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by Didi Emmons
August 1998
from issue #16

Trying to work your way through an entire watermelon is a serious undertaking for small households. My own consists of my cat, Henry, who likes his watermelon plain and cut small, and me. So as the watermelon sits in my fridge, taking up more space than a fruit has a right to, it becomes painfully clear that it will remain there for weeks unless I attack the problem head on.

The solution means going beyond slicing it open and eating it, even though the simple treatment is delicious. But watermelon, moderate in calories and a good source of potassium and vitamins A and C, is much more versatile.

What could be simpler or more summery than a watermelon smoothie. If you’re counting calories, substitute plain yogurt for the ice cream and add a little sugar. The drink resembles a lassi, a classic Indian beverage. I add a pinch of ground cardamom to the drink for more authenticity and flavor.

I like to combine watermelon with a fiery habañero pepper for a sweet and spicy fruit salad. With lime juice and basil, the salad goes great with grilled fish or chicken.

Don’t toss the rind in the compost. This often-neglected element of the fruit can be turned into excellent pickles. My own preference, though, is a curried relish that can turn a basic warm egg salad sandwich into fancy fare.

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