It’s watermelon time. Fourth of July, sweaty afternoons in the garden, barbecues, beach days. Watermelon is the quintessential summer time fruit. The aptly named melon is 90% water, and while it tastes super sweet it has less than half the sugar per gram of an apple. Lately, my appetite for the thirst-quencher is insatiable.
I can’t recall the exact moment when I fell in love with the sweet-salty continuum. My dear friend Eliza, of Milk & Honey, convinced me with her salted chocolate sauce that I had never enjoyed a sweet without its salty counterpart. As a teenager in Costa Rica, I learned the local custom of sprinkling ripe mango with salt. Those bites of juicy, thickly sweet and slightly salty fruit were more refreshing than a glass of ice water or a popsicle, or even a plunge in the Pacific. A few weeks ago, after a run, I tried salting my watermelon as a rehydrating snack. Nature’s answer to gatorade! It was 20 minutes after my run before I needed a glass of water.
Since then I have spiced up my salt mix, fighting the fiery temps with fiery flavors. I like to pre cut the watermelon and store it in the refrigerator for an extra refreshing, any time treat.
Choosing a ripe watermelon: It’s not always easy to tell if you are choosing a ripe melon from a pile at the store or farmer’s market. There are few things more disappointing than cutting into a watermelon and finding dried out, tasteless and pale flesh. Turn the melon all the way around, in all directions to find a light yellow mark where it sat against the dirt before harvest. If you don’t find a yellow mark, it probably isn’t ripe yet. If you still aren’t sure, give the melon a light tap with your knuckle. If it sounds hollow, it should be ripe.