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Watermelon, Cucumber Combination

From: Chef Bobby Perillo

Watermelon and cucumber salad

Spending time in a hot kitchen, or over a sizzling grill during the heat of summer is not everyone’s idea of a good-time. One of my quick no fire needed, yet satisfying options are tomato sandwiches. Maybe with mayonnaise, or extra virgin olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. Having chilled salads in the refrigerator is really nice too. Chilled salads can be refreshing afternoon lunches when you retreat from the heat, a dinner staple, even a late-night snack…or breakfast for that matter. From the end of July until the middle of September our garden produces cucumbers, within that time span there is usually a cucumber salad chilling-out in the refrigerator.

Cucumbers are members of the gourd family, believed to have originated in India three or four thousand years ago. The preservation practice of pickling cucumbers took root in the Tigris River Valley around that time. Egyptians, Greeks and Romans most likely introduced the fruit to the Mediterranean. Romans cultivated cucumbers spreading them around the rest of Europe. Europeans upon their arrival to the New World delivered cucumbers, they brought with them the technique of pickling too.

Watermelon is another revitalizing summertime delight. The vine of the watermelon can be traced back to Africa. Exactly what part of Africa remains unclear; however evidence points to the North Eastern part of the continent. Watermelons most likely became an important crop in dry arid regions because of their moisture content. Egyptians were cultivating wild watermelons and then later the Europeans. Over many centuries of husbandry, the watermelon has developed the, sweet, seedless flesh we know today.

Cucumbers and watermelons are diuretic foods. They are highly hydrating fruits that helps in the detoxification of our bodies, they also aid with the elimination of excess salt and liquid. While cucumbers and watermelons have many health benefits, watermelon is sweet, too much of this good thing can raise blood sugar levels.

The combination of watermelon and cucumber makes for a tasty, fresh, and healthy salad. The recipe below calls for lemon, which also happens to be a diuretic, antioxidant ingredient. Mint, which hails from Asia and the Mediterranean, is a vigorous cool herb that elevates the salad. Mint is a perennial herb that is prolific and easy to grow. I planted mint years ago and now it runs wild. Another plant growing wild in my garden is purslane…that’s right, a healthy weed. Purslane is a succulent tender plant with a salty, sour flavor that is high in omega-3 fatty acid. You might not have purslane growing near you, but if you do give it a try if you haven’t already. It is an invasive plant that for years I thought was just a weed growing out of the cracks in the sidewalk. Little did I know it was a free nutritional food.

These summer ingredients put together make an inexpensive, delicious salad. If you don’t grow it yourself, buy local and support your community.

Pairs perfectly with KRIS Rose

View Recipe Here