This coming Sunday, summer is officially here! Nothing says summer to me more than watermelon. I remember, as a kid, eating ice cold watermelon on hot summer evenings. We always ate it outside since it can get kind of messy. Every time I eat watermelon, it brings back good memories of those simpler times and makes me feel a little bit like a kid again.
Many years ago, my father owned a grocery store in Norman, Oklahoma. Daddy was a master at picking out produce for the store. I remember, one time, for some reason, one of his refrigeration trucks full of watermelons was parked in front of our house. The truck had two small doors over the cab, in addition to the back door. My older brother and sister, Jay and Tammy, climbed up on the cab, through the small windows and dropped down into the truck. Once inside, they proceeded to eat watermelon.
Come to find out, getting in the truck was a lot easier than getting out. They couldn’t get back up to the doors to get out. Fortunately, my parents found them and they got out safe and sound and full of watermelon.
Daddy could give classes on how to pick out good watermelon, cantelope, strawberries and on and on. Here are some of his tips on watermelons:
- Choose a watermelon that is uniform in size.
- Look for the light yellow side of the watermelon. This light color forms as that side of the watermelon is on the ground while it is ripening. Watermelons do not continue ripening once the are cut so you want to choose one that ripened as it was on the vine, in the field.
- Look for a watermelon that is blemish free and has a hard rind. Many people check the hardness of the rind by thumping on the watermelon. A thump that makes a hollow sound means the rind is hard. Personally, I just kind of knock on them to see if the rind feels hard.
- Choose a watermelon that is a deep green and dull in color. Hopefully, your store will not polish their watermelons so you will be able to see the dullness.
Refrigerate the watermelon or ice it down in an ice chest for several hours to get it really cold before slicing it.
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Today’s Lagniappe: Watermelon Basil Vinegrette
Use this yummy vinegrette over greens and garnish with sweet chunks of watermelon.
4 cups fresh watermelon, chopped and drained
1/4 cup red onion, diced small
2 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
3/4 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp fresh basil chopped
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine watermelon, red onion, champagne vinegar, canola oil, basil, and parsley in a blender. Pulse on and off about 30 seconds until combined. Add pepper to taste.