August is winding down, the kids are back in school and another summer is basically just a memory in the making. Like that melancholy feeling I always get after finishing a really good book, I find myself a bit low this time of year. I know that my days in the garden are numbered before fall turns to winter, and that makes me sad. Another year, another summer of dreams - some of which came to fruition (the okra did great!) and some which did not (another bad year for our tomatoes, sigh).
Another school year is starting and my youngest is now a sophomore in high school. I am one step closer to becoming an empty nester and this also makes me sad. Although I’m ready to get back to the routine of the school year, I know in a few weeks I’ll be missing my summer freedom as well.
But enough of that. The days are still hot and there is still plenty of cool watermelon available, so seize these last days of summer and enjoy a slice of the sweet stuff. Watermelon is readily available and in season right now. It's a good time to throw one last patio party or cook up some burgers on the grill with your family and end the meal with this delicious and healthy treat.
Watermelon is probably overlooked as the nutritional powerhouse it truly is. Not only is it a thirst quenching treat, but it is high in vitamins A, C and two important B vitamins, B1 (thiamine) which helps maintain electrolytes and aids the nervous system and B6 (pyridoxine) which is essential for enzymatic functions that convert food into cellular energy.
The fruit also contains the antioxidant lycopene, which has been found to greatly minimize cancer risks. And one cup has only 48 calories, which makes it a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without ditching your diet.
Generally I’m a purist when it comes to watermelon. My favorite way to enjoy it is to simply cut it into slices and eat it off the rind it dribbles down my chin. Some people like to add a little salt, but I’ve never acquired the taste for that. I’ve also known people who marinade it in balsamic vinegar and put it on the grill.
There are lots of great summer drinks you can make with it too, like watermelon lemonade or watermelon coolers with lime, mint leaves and simple syrup. A friend of mine reminded me of college days when watermelon spiked with vodka was a party favorite! Frozen watermelon granita is also easy to make and quite refreshing. (There is a great recipe online at The Pioneer Woman Cooks.)
This summer I did, however, travel deliciously out of my comfort zone and ventured into salad territory. I love this combination and hope you like it too. InJoy!
Watermelon Arugula Salad
Two large handfuls of arugula
1 – 1 ½ cups watermelon cubes
¼ cup raw walnuts
¼ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
¼ cup seeded, chopped cucumber
Balsamic vinegar (about two tablespoons)
Olive Oil (about one tablespoon)
Sea Salt and Freshly ground pepper
Place the arugula on a large plate or in a salad bowl. Top with the watermelon cubes, walnuts, gorgonzola cheese and cucumbers. Drizzle the salad with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently. Makes approximately two servings.
Note: You could also add a few capers if you like them. Mmm!