Juicy, sweet, and restorative, watermelon may be the ultimate summer fruit. Here are a few more reasons to pick one up this week.
Few things are more refreshing on a hot summer afternoon than watermelon. Packed with hydrating water (about 92 percent by weight), and sweet but light on calories (about 40 per cup), watermelon is a natural guilt-free heat-beater. No wonder it’s a picnic and barbecue staple.
But it turns out there’s even more about watermelon to love. A cousin of cantaloupe and honeydew, watermelon is surprisingly high in nutrients and has a number of health benefits, too. With its high water and fiber content, watermelon aids in digestion, helping to keep you satisfied; its choline content is believed to help memory and reduce inflammation. And whether you eat the usual red or more exotic orange or yellow varieties, the color pigments’ antioxidants are thought to help prevent some kinds of cancer.
During summer’s peak growing season, it’s easy to work a little watermelon into your routine. Of course, you can simply eat it by the slice, but it’s not much more effort to incorporate the juicy flesh in other cooling treats—such as a watermelon and basil gazpacho or a soothing sorbet.
For a rejuvenating drink, I like to borrow a tradition from Latin America, and whip up a batch of agua fresca. Thirst-quenching blends of fruit, water, and sometimes grains or seeds, agua fresca is a street-food staple that’s simple to make—and to drink glass after glass. (If you really want to unwind, you can add a shot of tequila, vodka, or other spirit to each serving for a more grown-up glass). My version enhances the fruit’s natural sweetness with an agave-based simple syrup, and gets a refreshing boost from the addition of mint.
GiadaWeekly is the digital food and lifestyle magazine from cookbook author and Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis. To get a new issue each Thursday, download the app or subscribe at www.giadaweekly.com. And follow GiadaWeekly on Instagram and Facebook.