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Watermelon perfect for summer

If my son were a southern belle, he’d be having the vapors about now because he just discovered that his favorite fruit, the watermelon, is also vegetable.

Yes, this is the same son whose culinary light bulb moment when he was 16 was, “Hey, Mom, did you know that pickles are made from cucumbers?” I’m amazed he ever learned to cook.

So back to the watermelon. To clarify, the watermelon is a fruit because it grows from a seed, and it is a vegetable because it’s grown on a vine and is a member of the same family as pumpkins and squash. This sweet treat doesn’t contain fat or cholesterol, is high in fiber and chock full of vitamins A, B6 and C. Oh, and did I mention that it’s also a great source of potassium? Watermelons also are low in calories (its makeup is between 8 percent sugar and the 92 percent water), so it’s actually a great food to eat if you’re trying to lose weight.

I have collected a bunch of easy, fun and delicious watermelon recipes that you can whip up in about 10 minutes. I typically use seedless watermelons when I’m combining it with other ingredients.

Watermelon Cooler

3 cups cubed seedless watermelon, well chilled

1 1/2 fresh limes, juiced

1/4 cup rum (optional)

Sugar, to taste

Put watermelon chunks, rum (if using) and lime juice into a blender. Process until smooth. Add sugar to taste; process until combined. Fill two glasses with ice and pour the cooler over the ice. Serves 2.

Watermelon Lemonade

8 cups seeded watermelon, cut into chunks

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)

2 cups water

Small/thin watermelon wedges for decoration

In a food processor combine the watermelon, strawberries and sugar and process until blended and smooth. Strain the liquid through a fine strainer into a pitcher. Add the lemon juice and enough of the water to make 1 1/2 quarts. Mix to combine and refrigerate for at least 3 hours for the flavors to meld and the drink to get really cold. To serve, pour the lemonade over ice. Makes 1 1/2 quarts (serves 6 to 8 depending on the size of the serving).

Watermelon Slaw

4 to 5 cups small cubed watermelon pieces

2 cups shredded jicama

1 cup shredded cubed carrots

2 cups shredded purple cabbage

1 cup diced yellow or green bell peppers

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (don’t use pre-squeezed, it’s icky)

Scant 1/4 cup olive oil

Kosher salt to taste

1 cup toasted slivered almonds

In a large glass bowl combine all the ingredients except the toasted almonds and mix to combine. Sprinkle the toasted almonds on the top and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

Watermelon Salsa with Feta

1 avocado, chopped

2 cups cubed watermelon, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

In a bowl combine avocado, watermelon, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice. Sprinkle with a little salt and gently mix to combine. Top with the crumbled feta cheese. Serve with chips, tortilla chips or crackers. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

– Submitted by Angela Racier of Indianapolis Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at eztlog@gmail.com or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.

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