Friday, July 10, 2009

Quick Links: Watermelon Month

Okay, there seems to be a bit of confusion as to when Watermelon Month is actually celebrated. What's a girl to do? Write the Watermelon Guy himself? Yes. Here is what he had to say when queried about National Watermelon Month.

"You’re right, Louise. Some sources designate August as National Watermelon Month and some say July. I side with July because that’s the official word from the National Watermelon Association. July 2007 was designated as National Watermelon Month by the U.S. House of Representatives and if they say it’s National Watermelon Month, it must be National Watermelon Month. Of course, I’m not sure if that resolution only pertained to July of 2007 or if it was meant to apply to every July thereafter. If there’s still some confusion about July or August, we can always just celebrate watermelon in both months and have twice the fun!"

I agree! You know, I had this same problem with National Peach Month last year and I got through it like "Peaches N' Cream." Let's have some watermelon fun!!!

One of the first watermelon recipes I spotted and had to know more about comes from Mandy, Gourmet Mom on-the-Go. Can you guess the "secret" ingredient??? How clever. And, that picture! Amazing!!!

Wiggly Watermelon
"It is chief of the world's luxuries, king by the grace of God over all the fruits of the earth. When one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat..." ~Mark Twain~

Oh my, and here I thought those shapely spheres were only filled with refreshing crunchy goodness. Boy oh by was I wrong. There's another side to watermelon I just never considered. Thank goodness Stacey has more of a cosmopolitan approach to this member of the Gourd family. Doesn't Watermelon, Ricotta Salata & Mint Salad sound heavenly? Leave it to Stacey Snacks to wet this girl's appetite!

Watermelon Salad

I don't know about you but I'm not quite fortified with enough glacial watermelon recipes. Hmmm...I know just when the seeds were planted. It was when I stopped in at Leslie's; The Hungry Housewife and feasted my tired eyes on those Frozen Watermelon Pops! I knew I couldn't leave without one. Go ahead, I dare you! The image alone will carry you off to a watermelon oasis.

Watermelon Pops

Confession time...I rarely buy watermelon for myself. When I do buy watermelon, it has to be whole. I just don't feel comfortable buying it when it has been pre-sliced or cut into chunks and stuffed into one of those plastic containers. I mean really, how much watermelon can one person eat? On the other hand, my grandchildren LOVE watermelon! Is there a child that doesn't, I wonder? Perhaps, I really never cared for watermelon when I was a child. So, as much as I would like to venture into the world of cooking with watermelon, I may not get there in the near future. I will be saving the recipes I have included in this post (which by the way is one of the reasons I am doing this post:) for a later date. I think the recipes and gorgeous images above are all truly mouth-watering and worthy of at least one attempt by yours truly:)

In the mean time, I intend on setting my watermelon dreams on "Watermelon Cake and Thoughts of Summer" carefully prepared and shared by T.W. @ Culinary Types.

Watermelon Cake

Staying true to my "rind," I just wouldn't feel right if I too didn't contribute a recipe, or two for Watermelon Month. The first recipe for Sweet Watermelon Rind Pickle was harvested from What Mrs. Fisher Knows about Old Southern Cooking published in 1881. The copy of Mrs. Fisher's book in my collection is in PA as is the second recipe for Spiced Watermelon Rind from The Best of Amish Cooking by Phyllis Pellman Good.

Sweet Watermelon Rind Pickle:
Take the melon rind and scrape all the meat from the inside, and then carefully slice all the outside of the rind from the white part of the rind, then lay or cover the white part over with salt. It will have to remain under salt one week before pickling; the rind will keep in salt from year to year. When you want to pickle it, take it from the salt and put into clear water, change the water three times a day –must be changed say every four hours – then take the rind from the water and dry it with a clean cloth. Have your vinegar boiling, and put the rind into it and let it lay in vinegar four days; then take it from the vinegar, drain, and sprinkle sugar thickly over it and let it remain so one day. To make syrup, take the syrup from the rind and add eight pounds more sugar to it, and put to boil; boil till a thick and clear syrup. Weigh ten pounds of rind to 12 pounds of sugar; cover the rind with four pounds of it and make the syrup with the remaining eight pounds. While the syrup is cooking add one teacupful of white ginger root and the peel of three lemons. When the syrup is cooked, then put the rind into the boiling syrup, and let it cook till you can pass a fork through it with ease, then it is done. When cooled, put in jar or bottles with one pint of vinegar to one quart of syrup, thus the pickles are made. See that they be well covered with vinegar and syrup as directed. What Mrs. Fisher Knows about Old Southern Cooking (1881)

"Watermelons were a delicacy for Nebraska settlers. When the watermelons were in season and ripe, they were a summer treat and a standard for the ten o'clock and three o'clock lunch. Some pioneer families even claimed to keep melons through the winter by stuffing them in haystacks. (images)
Spiced Watermelon Rind
5 pounds watermelon rind, cut in 2" chunks, each with about a 1/4" strip of pink watermelon fruit
1/2 cup salt
2 quarts water
5 cups granulated sugar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1-1/2 cups water
1/8 tsp. oil of cloves
1/8 tsp. oil of cinnamon

1. Place watermelon chunks in a large dishpan or crock. Combine salt with 2 quarts of water and pour over watermelon. Let set overnight.
2. Drain, rinse with fresh water and drain again.
3. Place watermelon in large saucepan, add fresh water and cook until tender. Drain.
4. Meanwhile, combine sugar, vinegar, water and spices. Bring to boil and pour over the cooked and drained watermelon. Let set overnight.
5. Drain watermelon, reserving syrup. Bring to boil, pour over watermelon and let set again overnight. Repeat this process for 3 days.
6. On day 3, cook watermelon and syrup together for 3 minutes. Then pour into hot sterilized jars and seal. Makes 6 pints.
The Best of Amish Cooking by Phyllis Pellman Good (1988)

A special thank you to everyone who was kind enough to let me "borrow" their enticing images for National Watermelon Month. I would suggest you, dear reader, take a skip on over to their blogs and check out the recipes. Simply delightful! Thank you also to watermelon.org for the sculptured watermelon turtle pictured above:)

FYI: Oklahoma designated watermelon as the official state vegetable in 2007. (Yes, that's vegetable?)
Seeded watermelon chunks can be frozen to use in watermelon slushes or fruit smoothies. Watermelon sorbet or granita stays fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.
According to Yum Sugar, National Watermelon Day is August 3rd!

Wait! Before you go, today is also Pina Colada Day! Check out this Pina Colada Freeze over at Hungry Girl.

1. Watermelon 101
2. National Watermelon Association
3. Watermelon—The Essense of Summertime (Brooklyn Botanic Garden)
4. Smoked Eels with Watermelon & Balsamic Glaze
5. Grilled Watermelon with Seared Wild Scallops
6. Watermelon Varieties for Pickling
7. Chinese Watermelon Art Sculpture
8. Peaches 'N Cream