Yes, it’s almost here! August is National Watermelon Month. We’ve been enjoying this luscious, rich, vibrant fruit all summer, but August is the month to celebrate it every day.
Did you know that there are more varieties of watermelon than what we usually eat? White, yellow, and red are just a few of the options you can choose. Watermelon has been domesticated for as long as humans have been eating it, but where did this vine originate?
Watermelon can still be found wild in the heart of Africa. It has been used as a hydrating system for traveling in the desert for thousands of years. There are even hieroglyphs from ancient Egypt depicting growing, harvesting and eating watermelon.
Watermelon came to North America by way of European explorers, and some reports say that it was the slaves that first imported the fruit. However it migrated, it was adopted and grown rapidly by the Native Americans.
Watermelon is best eaten by cutting it open and munching on it.
In the culinary world there are many ways to present the sweet, tasty melon. The most common that I saw during my years cooking professionally is to cut the melon into squares and infuse it with balsamic vinegar reduction. This is usually served with some kind of sharp, strong cheese like Stilton blue cheese, or a smoky aged gouda cheese. You can also serve it in salads. One of my favorites is with jicama and mango. One new trend involves Grilling watermelon .
One more thing about watermelons: you can pickle them. Pickling the rind is a tradition that comes from the South. Probably imported with knowledge passed from India. I’ll be trying this in the next week or two, just to see how it turns out. Watch my Instagram to see the results.
Culinary artists long ago discovered that watermelon makes great art. Searching the internet reveals thousands upon thousands of sculptures created from this fabulous food: baskets, sharks, demons and angels. Or use it as a vessel for other food stuffs. When done right, a watermelon sculpture or vessel serves as a stunning center piece to your summer celebrations.
However you choose to serve or carve your watermelon, please share your recipes & carving pictures with us on @Kitchenshaman or Facebook. We’d love to see your creations and we will pass them on to our followers.
Let’s make this August a mouth-watering, month-long watermelon celebration.