watermelon_summerNothing says “summer” like fresh watermelon!

Though you can now buy it in supermarkets just about year-round, the shipped-from-afar fruit pales in comparison to the bright, juicy, super-sweet melons now in season and available from local farms. It’s a tasty treat in its own right but did you know that watermelon is also considered a superfood, meaning that it has many documented health benefits? For instance …

Drinking watermelon juice before a workout can prevent next-day sore muscles. Why? Watermelon is loaded with L-citrulline, an amino acid that boosts circulation by helping to relax your blood vessels. (Easy to make: 3 cups seedless watermelon chunks, 1 cup of water, run it thru your blender. A delicious addition is 1/4 cup of raspberries or blueberries. Mmmm!)

Watermelon is a natural diuretic and contains lots of potassium, making it a smart snack for people with heart disease. .

Since it contains lots of lycopene, watermelon is a good cancer-fighter. Also, it’s packed with antioxidants and other vitamins and nutrients that are good for skin, vision and your immune system.

Buying/Storing Info: Ripe watermelon (symetrical, yellowish on the bottom) is the healthiest watermelon. Best to buy watermelon whole and store (up to 5 days) at room temperature until you are ready to eat. Once you’ve cut your watermelon, store it in the fridge, in an air-tight container, and it will stay fresh for another few days.




Fairgate Farm Recipe: Watermelon-Arugula Salad

At our recent Fairgate Farm festival, “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” visitors enjoyed sampling watermelon in a salad with arugula and fresh herbs, drizzled with a tangy balsamic dressing. Stamford Hospital Population Health Dietitian/Chef Gavin Pritchard was happy to share his recipe …

What you need:
2 cups of watermelon, with rind removed, cut into small chunks
8 cups of leafy greens (arugula, mustard greens and spinach, washed and chopped)
¼ cup scallion, sliced thin
¼ cup of fresh herbs (dill, cilantro, basil, flat-leaf parsley – leaves and small stems only)
2 cups white beans (cooked or use one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Cracked black pepper to taste

What you do:
In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, greens, scallions, herbs, white beans and feta cheese.
In a small bowl, whisk the balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and black pepper
Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat — enjoy!