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Summer is the best time for a picnic

by Amy Roby

When I bring to mind summer vacations spent at my grandparents’ home back east, I recall sticky-hot afternoons and the platter of thick, cold slices of watermelon my Nana would set out for us on their wooden picnic table. My sisters, cousins, and I always raced to see who could reach the table first. We’d each grab a wedge of luscious, crimson melon then head down to the small creek that ran through the backyard. There, standing on the bank, we’d work our way through the fruit, its sweet juice running down our chins and dripping from our elbows. Once we reached the slick, black seeds, the spitting contest would commence. Various techniques and comparative distances were vigorously debated and though I can’t be sure of who won any of those competitions, I do remember all the grinning and shouting and simple joy of those times.

National Watermelon Day is Monday a day that provides inspiration and opportunity to celebrate this quintessential summertime treat.

The USDA website, Choose My Plate (choosemyplate.gov), reports that watermelon is grown commercially in 44 different states across the US (this includes Nevada) and encourages it as an affordable, sweet way to incorporate fruit into meal plans. Just two cups of watermelon meets the daily fruit group target for a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet. Watermelon has a water content of 92%; enjoying it is a good way to hydrate while also consuming an abundance of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

There are lots of ways to satisfy a watermelon craving. A simple bowl full of cool, ruby-red chunks is my favorite way to indulge, though mixing it up with a sprinkling of chili and lime seasoning adds a delicious twist. My dad prefers plain salt on his watermelon and says it makes it sweeter.

Diced watermelon can be a nice surprise when added to a green salad and tossed with a light vinaigrette. Check out this recipe from renowned chef Ina Garten: barefootcontessa.com/recipes/watermelon-arugula-salad.

There are lots of online recipes available for making a refreshing, semi-frozen watermelon granita. The Choose My Plate website recommends simply freezing slices of watermelon for a no-stress, all-natural confection.

Since childhood, I’ve always enjoyed the crisp, white part of the watermelon rind and recall my mother’s warnings that I’d get a stomachache if I ate it. It turns out my mom’s well-intentioned advice isn’t true; the entire fruit, rind and all, is edible. The rind can be cooked or pickled, though I’ve yet to try either of those approaches.

The time is ripe to celebrate the wonder of watermelon. What’s your favorite way to savor this seasonal delicacy?

Family dinner deal at CoComoes

CoComoes Catering is offering a tri-tip family meal special on Friday, August 14. Each $25 (plus tax) order consists of a 3-pound smoked tri-tip and three 32-ounce side dishes. Side choices are mac & cheese, sweet bacon beans, spicy barbwire beans, Granny apple slaw, and deviled egg potato salad.

Additional side dishes are also available for purchase and include fresh baked cornbread and a homemade banana pudding cheesecake. Check out all the options and fill out an order form at cocomoesq.com.

Orders must be placed by Wednesday, August 12 and can be picked up either curbside or via the drive through from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Friday, August 14.

CoComoes is located at 795 Tillman Lane in the Gardnerville Ranchos.

Amy Roby can be reached at ranchosroundup@hotmail.com.