Sunday, July 22, 2007

Watermelon Summer Dessert

Watermelon Summer Dessert
Dorcas Annette Walker

Summer days often bring hot and humid weather. There is nothing like the taste of a cold watermelon on a hot afternoon or evening to quench your thirst. Every summer growing up I looked forward with anticipation to the first taste of watermelon. It wasn’t until I was married and living in the Mountains of Tennessee that I had my first experience of tasting a yellow watermelon grown by a local farmer. Surprisingly enough yellow watermelons taste just as sweet as the red ones. I didn’t believe it until I had tasted one for myself.

I was amazed at all the facts available about watermelons. The first recorded watermelon harvested occurred 5,000 years ago in Egypt. History says that a watermelon was once thrown at the Roman Governor Demosthenes during a political debate. He used the rind of that watermelon for a helmet as fought Philip of Macedonia. The word watermelon first appeared in the English dictionary in 1615. Early explorers used watermelons as canteens. The first cookbook published in the United States in 1796 contained a recipe for watermelon pickles. Over 1,200 varieties of watermelon are grown in ninety-six countries worldwide. In 1990, Bill Carson, of Arrington, Tennessee grew the largest watermelon at 262 pounds. The world record for eating a watermelon is held by Richard LeFever who ate eleven-and-one-half pounds of watermelon in fifteen minutes. Forty-four states grow watermelons; the three top producers are Florida, Texas, and California. By 1999 over four billion pounds of watermelon was produced in the United States. In Southern Russia beer is made from watermelon juice (do me a favor and don’t tell the bootleggers up here on the mountain) and they also boil down the watermelon juice to a heavy syrup like molasses for its sugar. While watermelons are found in various sizes and shapes Japan takes first place for its latest addition of square watermelons. Yep, farmers actually put the watermelons in square tempered glass boxes while the watermelon is still growing on the vine, which allows the full-grown watermelon to fit conveniently and precisely in a refrigerator shelf. I didn’t run down any prices, but it was noted that square watermelons are priced at a very high premium. If that doesn’t boggle your mind read this. Watermelons are African in origin and classified as a vegetable because they are related to cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash! Every part of the watermelon is edible; the seeds can be roasted while the watermelon rind can be used to make preserves, pickles, and relish. Watermelon is considered to be an ideal health food because it doesn’t contain any fat or cholesterol, it is an excellent source of A, B6 and C, contains fiber and potassium, and is certified as a heart healthy food by the American Heart Association. Watermelons are made up of 92% water and the National Watermelon Day is August 3rd.

This Watermelon Summer Dessert is a colorful and ideal summer dessert for picnics and family reunions. It takes about thirty minutes to prepare the Watermelon Summer Dessert and this recipe serves around twenty.

Watermelon Summer Dessert

Take one large ripe watermelon and cut lengthways (one-fourth off of the top) with a sharp knife. Scoop out the watermelon with a large spoon and set aside. Decorate the edge of the rind by cutting out inch, up-side-down triangles all around the top giving a zig-zag effect.

In a large bowl mix together:
watermelon cut into chunks
1 cantaloupe (peeled and sliced into chunks)
1 bag of frozen blueberries or 4 c fresh blueberries
Pour the mixed fruit into the watermelon rind until full and heaped up. You can store the remaining fruit in an air-tight container to refill the rind as needed. Chill and serve with a large spoon!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a freelance writer, author, columnist, and photographer from Jamestown, TN. If you have any cooking tips or favorite recipes you are welcome to contact me by mail at: Dorcas Walker, 929 Wildwood Lane, Jamestown, TN 38556 or email me at: For more information about the Walker family and Dorcas’ books check out her website at: or htpp:// for other Creative Mountain Cookin recipes.

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