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WATERMELON CAN MAKE CELEBRATING AMERICA’S INDEPENDENCE THAT MUCH SWEETER THIS FOURTH OF JULY

WATERMELON CAN MAKE CELEBRATING AMERICA’S INDEPENDENCE THAT MUCH SWEETER THIS FOURTH OF JULY

Photo: Watermelon

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FIVE TIPS FOR SELECTING A RIPE, FLAVORFUL WATERMELON

Look for a watermelon that has bright skin, is firm, symmetrical, and free of cuts
Find one that feels heavy for its size; “water” melons contain more than 90% water and the ripest ones have the most water
Should not be narrower on one end or misshapen; this could mean it grew in fits and starts
The underside should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun – rather than being picked early
Position the melon two inches from your ear, thump or tap it with your free hand.  If not ripe enough, it will sound solid; if too ripe, it will sound thick; if perfect, it will resonate as hollow
FUN WAYS TO USE AND SERVE WATERMELON

Every part of a watermelon is edible!
Fill it with your favorite punch, attach a faucet, and you have a watermelon keg!
Freeze watermelon juice in ice cube trays to add to lemonades and fruit punches
Stick popsicle stick into a wedge, dip into sugar and freeze for a watermelon popsicle
Make chilled watermelon soup
Use the cut shell to hold a fruit salad
Cut watermelon squares for use in martinis or fruit drinks
Many eaters lightly salt their melon to bring out the flavor
It is sometimes paired with honey or lime and served either cold or grilled. 
Watermelons are often eaten with feta cheese in Israel and Egypt
Use slices as coasters
WATERMELON ACTIVITIES

Have a watermelon carving party – there are several websites, including the National Watermelon Promotion Board (www.watermelon.org) that have designs, pictures and instructions to make airplanes, birthday cakes, rabbits, football helmets, sharks and more
Sponsor a watermelon seed spitting contest
Make watermelon checkers for outdoor game playing
HOW TO STORE:

Keep them a bit cooler than room temperature and refrigerate only for a few hours.  While refrigeration keeps them from rotting, it also degrades both flavor and texture, characteristics that start to deteriorate as soon as watermelons are picked.
Cut watermelons should be wrapped in plastic before refrigeration to preserve their taste without absorbing odors from other food.
HEALTH BENEFITS:

Although a watermelon contains about 6% sugar and 92% water by weight, it has the most nutrition per calorie of common foods
Health-wise a one-cup serving of watermelon will provide around 48 calories
An excellent source of vitamins A and C, it also provides significant amounts of vitamin B6 and B1 as well as the minerals potassium and magnesium.
Watermelon is mildly diuretic


Dawn Bryan, author of the best-selling book The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving, and founder of Qualipedia™