This recipe is perfect for the heat of summer when crisp, sweet melon is paired with the cooling freshness of mint and mouthwatering effects of fresh lime. I also love bringing this dish to a summer barbeque as a delicious, yet simple recipe.
I always have mint growing in the garden at this time of year. The kids love running over and picking a leaf to munch on while playing outside. I enjoy watching them chew on the various herbs in the garden; mint being their favorite in addition to lemon balm.
Lemon balm is also in the mint family and would be a delicious addition to this dish along with lemon thyme. Mint is cooling and helps with most stomachaches and can be invigorating to the brain in the essential oil form. Lemon balm is relaxing to the nerves and perfect for unwinding after a long day in a glass of iced tea. All these herbs are easy to grow. I recommend growing mint and lemon balm in a pot as they will take over your entire garden if given the opportunity. I don’t mind having extra mint, so I let it roam at will in my garden.
Mint is one of those herbs that will root itself if you pick a sprig and put it in a vase. I love mint also for flower arrangements in my summer bouquets. It will last for a few weeks and by then will have rooted itself. I often will send my guests home with a fresh bouquet of herbs from my garden so they can plant the mint, sage and rosemary in their gardens in a few weeks. I especially love this because the plants I have now are ones that my mother originally planted in our garden when I was a child over 25 years ago. It is so satisfying to send my friends home with a piece of my family history.
How do you pick out a great watermelon? My mom and Kansas-born father taught me how to pick out a good watermelon. You want the watermelon to sound snappy when you slap it. It will sound resonant and crisp versus a flat thud. This is because a ripe, crisp watermelon has tight cells that hold in the juice of the melon. If the watermelon is overripe the cells will start to degrade and get mushy therefore giving you that flat thud sound. I like to hold the watermelon in both hands. Then with one hand I slap the melon and see if I get that resonant and crisp snappy sound and feel the vibration that travels through the tight, crisp cells to the other hand. If it sounds dull and my other hand doesn’t feel a strong vibration I know I have an overripe melon.
Watermelon is rich in a phytonutrient called lycopene. Lycopene is particularly important in cardiovascular health and some budding research has shown that lycopene may also be important in bone health. In addition to lycopene, watermelon has a rich source of an amino acid called citruline. Citruline can be converted in our kidneys and other organ systems into arginine, which is particularly important in dilation of blood vessels, important in cardiovascular health. Watermelon holds a power punch of Vitamin C, phenolic antioxidants and flavonoids to boot. So sit back and create your summer memories with a crisp, sweet, minty and citrus rich bowl of watermelon.
8 cups of watermelon, cut into cubes
2 large sprigs of mint, stems removed and thinly sliced
1 lime, juiced
Optional: vanilla salt or a dash of sea salt to contrast the sweetness and to draw the flavors of the fruit forward
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Gently combine the mint and lime with the watermelon by scraping the sides of the bowl and turning the ingredients inward and repeat several more times until ingredients are well combined.
- Serve in a shallow clear, white or green serving bowl if you have one to allow the mint and bright red color of the watermelon to stand out. No worries of you do not of course.