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COOK OF THE WEEK - WATERMELON RECIPES

Summer has definitely arrived with its high humidity and temperatures. There is nothing better on a hot summer day than an ice-cold slice of watermelon. Not having given much thought of the origin of this summer delight, it was astounding to find out that watermelon is over 5,000 years old and is depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics. Watermelon was even included in the tombs of the Pharaohs to help provide nourishment in the afterlife.
This week’s cook column investigates this interesting melon and provides recipes for it. Here are some other fun facts about watermelon:
Watermelon is 92 percent water.
Watermelons are cousins to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
Watermelon is the most consumed melon by weight in the United States. Second is cantaloupe and then honeydew. Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.
The first cookbook published in the U.S. in 1776 contained a recipe for watermelon rind pickles.
China is the number one producer of watermelon. In the United States, 44 of the 50 states produce watermelon.
There are 50 varieties of watermelon that are very popular, but there are 200-300 varieties grown in the United States and Mexico.
(www.watermelon.org)
Here are some hints for picking a good watermelon:
1. Look the watermelon over.
You are looking for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents.
2. Lift it up. The watermelon should be heavy for its size. Watermelon is 92 percent water, most of the weight is water.
3. Turn it over. The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.
(www.watermelon.org)

Watermelon Fire and Ice Salsa
Lady Flannel, allrecipes.com
3 cups chopped watermelon
1/2 cup chopped green bell
pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh
cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped green
onions
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno
pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, green bell pepper, lime juice, cilantro, green onions, jalapeno and garlic salt. Mix well and serve.
*Serve it with tortilla chips, or use it as a topping for grilled chicken or fish.

Watermelon and Strawberry Lemonade
Razzbery1, allrecipes.com
8 cups cubed seeded watermelon
1 cup fresh strawberries, halved
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup white sugar
2 cups water
Combine the watermelon, strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, and water in a blender. Blend until smooth. Serve cold over ice. Makes 2 quarts.

‘Something Different’
Fruit Salad
Fyrecracker, allrecipes.com
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
pepper (optional)
1 pound fresh strawberries,
hulled and quartered
lengthwise
3 cups cubed seedless
watermelon
1 fresh pineapple - peeled, cored
and cut into 1 inch chunks
Stir together the lime juice, honey, salt, and cayenne pepper in the bottom of a large salad bowl.
Toss the strawberries, watermelon, and pineapple with the dressing. Chill the fruit salad until ready to serve.

Watermelon Pie
JJOHN32, allrecipes.com
3 ounce package watermelon
flavored Jell-O
1/4 cup water
12 ounce container frozen
whipped topping, thawed
2 cups watermelon
9 inch prepared graham cracker
crust
Mix together the watermelon gelatin and water. Fold gelatin mixture into the dessert topping. Add cut watermelon.
Pour mixture into graham cracker crust. Cool in refrigerator for about 3 hours.

Watermelon Rind Candy
LadyRattrap, allrecipes.com
(also known as watermelon pickles)
2-1/2 gallons water
1 tablespoon salt
2 gallons watermelon rind, white
part only, cut into 1-inch
cubes
1 quart cider vinegar
26 cups white sugar, divided
28 whole cloves
14 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks
Bring the water and salt to a boil in a large, enamel stockpot over high heat. Add the watermelon rinds, and return to a boil. Cook for 20 minutes, then drain the rinds in a colander. Bring the vinegar to a boil with 6 cups of sugar. Remove from the heat, stir in the watermelon rinds, cover, and let stand overnight.
The following day, remove the rinds from the syrup using a slotted spoon, and place them into a clean bowl. Set the stockpot onto the stove over high heat, add 4 cups of sugar, and return the syrup to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the stockpot from the heat, and stir in the watermelon rinds, cover, and let stand overnight.
On day 3, repeat the process above, using only 2 cups of sugar: remove the rinds from the syrup using a slotted spoon, and place them into a clean bowl. Set the stockpot onto the stove over high heat, add 2 cups of sugar, and return the syrup to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the stockpot from the heat, and stir in the watermelon rinds, cover, and let stand overnight. Repeat step 3 every day for 6 more days.
On day 10, sterilize the canning jars, rings and lids in boiling water. Pack the watermelon rinds into sterilized jars, making sure there are no spaces or air pockets on the sides. Add two cloves and one cinnamon stick to each jar. Return the syrup to a boil, and fill the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Top with lids, and screw on rings.
Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with boiling water. Carefully lower jars into pot using a holder. Leave a 2-inch space between jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary, until tops of jars are covered by 2 inches of water. Bring water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the stockpot from the heat, and let the jars stand in the water for 2 hours off of the heat.
Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Store in a cool, dark area for 2 weeks before opening.

Beet Watermelon Soup
Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, homecooking.about.com
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium sweet onion, peeled
and sliced
1/2 pound beets, peeled and
roughly diced
4 cups chicken broth (may use
low-salt)
1 teaspoon salt
2-12 cups diced seeded
watermelon (rind removed)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
leaves (optional)
In a large stockpot over medium low heat, gently sauté sweet onions in the vegetable oil, stirring often, until onions are limp and translucent. Stir in beets, reduce heat to low, and cook until beets begin to fall apart, about 35 minutes. Be sure to stir often to avoid burning and sticking.
Add chicken broth and salt to the onions and beets. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain solids, reserving the liquid.
Place beet and onion solids into a blender or food processor. Add watermelon and puree until smooth. Return to the stockpot and stir in reserved liquid.
Refrigerate soup at least 4 hours or overnight before serving chilled. Garnish with chopped mint leaves, if desired.
Yield: 6 servings

Deep-Fried Watermelon
Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, homecooking.about.com
1 seedless watermelon, (6 to 8
pounds)
3 cups vegetable or canola oil
for deep-frying
1/2 cup cornstarch (corn flour)
2 egg whites, beaten
2 teaspoons water
3/4 cup flour
Powdered confectioners’ sugar
for garnish
Cut watermelon in half lengthwise. Cut each half again lengthwise into 2. You should have 4 long triangular-shaped pieces. Remove the rinds, cut into 1-inch thick slices, then cut the flesh into about 1-inch triangles. (It is not a science, so do not worry if you have odd shapes.)
Heat oil in a deep-fryer or wok to 350 F.
Whisk cornstarch with egg whites and water until combined.
Dredge watermelon chunks in the flour, then coat with the cornstarch batter. Deep-fry in batches, leaving room in between pieces to properly brown, until watermelon chunks are golden.
Remove from oil and drain well. Sprinkle deep-fried watermelon with a dusting of powdered confectioners’ sugar to serve.
Yield: 12 servings

Watermelon BBQ Sauce
homecooking.about.com
1/2 cup watermelon juice
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Stir watermelon juice, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, oil, Dijon mustard, garlic, and pepper flakes together. Pour enough sauce over vegetables, chicken, pork, fish or shellfish to marinate. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Baste with additional sauce while grilling or broiling. Sauce not used for marinating or basting can be spooned over cooked vegetables and meats.

Watermelon Cake
Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, homecooking.about.com
2 layer package white cake mix
1 small package instant vanilla
pudding mix powder (may
substitute mixed fruit gelatin
powder)
1-1/2 cups seedless watermelon
cut from the center, cubed
into 1-inch blocks, and
processed to a puree
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 to 4 drops red food coloring,
optional
1 cup miniature chocolate chips,
optional
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan (or 9 x 13-inch cake pan).
In a medium bowl, whisk together cake mix and instant vanilla pudding mix or gelatin powder until combined. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat watermelon, egg whites, vegetable oil, and red food coloring until smooth. Add dry ingredients, half at a time, and mix until well-blended. Batter will be thick. Fold in chocolate chips, if using.
Pour into prepared pan and bake 40 to 45 minutes (30 to 35 minutes for sheet cake), or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool to room temperature before frosting.
Frosting:
1/8 cup watermelon juice
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter,
at room temperature
1-3/4 cups powdered sugar
4 ounces (1/2 of a large block)
cream cheese, at room
temperature
2 to 3 drops green food coloring,
optional
1/8 cup miniature chocolate
chips, optional
For the frosting, blend watermelon juice, butter, powdered sugar, and cream cheese until combined and fluffy. Add food coloring to achieve a green watermelon rind color, if desired. Frost cooled cake. Place chocolate chips sporadically around the cake to simulate seeds. Refrigerate to set frosting. Remove from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.
Yield: about 12 servings

Watermelon Muffins
Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, homecooking.about.com
1-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup (about 1/8 medium
seedless watermelon)
watermelon juice with pulp
(see Note*)
Red food coloring, optional
3/4 cup miniature chocolate
chips (or raisins)
Confectioners’ sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line standard or miniature muffin tins with baking paper cups.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs. Add sour cream and watermelon, beating just until combined. (A few drops of red food coloring may be added to the batter to enhance the color to simulate watermelon.) Fold in chocolate chips.
Fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes for standard muffins or 15 to 18 minutes for mini-muffins. Place muffins on racks to cool.
Just before serving, sift with powdered confectioners’ sugar, if you wish.
Yield: 12 standard muffins or about 48 mini-muffins.
*Note: Cut seedless watermelon into cubes and process in a food processor or heavy-duty blender until thick with small bits of pulp still remaining. You will need 1 cup of processed watermelon.
The COOK OF THE WEEK 3rd Edition Cookbook is available. Cost per copy is $10.70, plus $4.80 shipping/handling. Order a copy today by sending a check or money order, along with name and shipping address, to: Humboldt Independent, 512 Sumner Ave., Humboldt, IA 50548.