ASK THE EXPERTS: IS IT POSSIBLE TO LOVE WATERMELON TOO MUCH?

February 14th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

VICTORIA S. ASKS: I’m a huge watermelon fan. Seriously, I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and I have!). But my question is, is it possible to love watermelon too much?

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Image courtesy of SurprisedFarmer.com

Great question, Victoria. If anyone knows a thing or two about loving watermelon “too much,” it’s someone called “The Watermelon Guy.”

Ever since I could spit my first watermelon seed, I knew I would be a lifer in the watermelon lovers club. (By the way, the watermelon lovers club isn’t an actual thing, but if I had my way, it would be!) It sounds silly, but one of the reasons I’ve been eating watermelon so long (and so often) is for the nutritious advantages it packs.

Don’t get me wrong: I also love watermelon because it tastes like a little slice of heaven. Then again, I also think chicken nuggets are delicious, but I don’t eat those all the time.

But is there such thing as too much watermelon? We asked our nutritionist, Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, this same question. As she discusses weight management and healthy habits, she says that colorful fruits and vegetables are your best friends. “They are rich in fiber and water, which help fill you up without filling you out,” she says.

When it comes to watermelon, the nutritional benefits are plenty. It’s high in vitamins A and C, it’s 92 percent water, and it’s a key source of potassium. Watermelon also has no fat, cholesterol or sodium, and it’s just 80 calories per serving. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.

So, to answer your question: no, there’s no such thing as loving watermelon too much. However, I will echo some of Elizabeth’s advice and remind you to maintain a balanced diet consisting of many different foods. My biggest fear is that I’ll eat too much watermelon and eventually get tired of it. It hasn’t happened yet (and likely never will), but why take that chance?

UP NEXT: STACKED JICAMA CHICKEN SALAD

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RECIPE: WATERMELON AND CHOCOLATE FONDUE

February 11th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

Next to my wedding anniversary, Valentine’s Day is one of the most important days of the year for my wife and me. But since we’ve become parents, a date night that involves anything other than SpaghettiOs, diaper changes and Barbies has become a figment of our imaginations.

However, now that our daughter’s getting older, we’re able to send her for some grandma time while we catch up over dinner. Thanks to free babysitting, my wife and I will enjoy a nice Valentine’s Day dinner this weekend. Want to impress your valentine this year with something sweet, chocolatey and super simple to make? Try this recipe for Watermelon and Chocolate Fondue!

WATERMELON AND CHOCOLATE FONDUE

INGREDIENTS4

4 cups watermelon cut into 1” cubes

½ cup fat-free half & half + extra reserve

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

½ teaspoon coriander

8 ounces dark chocolate (at least 60 percent cocoa powder)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Wrap watermelon cubes in paper towels to soak up excess fluid. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring half & half and spices to almost a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate. Let chocolate melt, then continue to stir until thoroughly blended and creamy. Adjust flavors.
  3. Transfer the fondue to a fondue pot and heat according to directions. (If fondue becomes too thick, stir in extra reserve half & half, one tablespoon at a time, to desired consistency.)
  4. Place watermelon cubes on a platter with fondue forks and skewers.

UP NEXT: IS IT POSSIBLE TO LOVE WATERMELON TOO MUCH?

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BREAK OUT YOUR CUTTING BOARD: THE 2016 WATERMELON CARVING CONTEST HAS BEGUN!

February 8th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

Yes, you read that correctly — the 2016 Watermelon Carving Contest has arrived. NWPB-0002_2016CarvingContest_Logo

This year, we’re doing things a little differently, which is why you’re reading about this in February instead of June or July. We decided that, since you can’t rush perfection, we wanted to give carvers a little more time to create some pretty amazing masterpieces.

You can create a carving now — don’t forget to take a photo of the carving AND a photo of you with the carving — and then submit your carving when the contest entry period starts in July (don’t worry, I’ll be posting reminders about the contest and the start of the entry period throughout the year).

And remember: Creativity is key to impressing the judges, both in terms of the creativity of your overall idea and the creativity of the staging (background) of your carving.

This year’s contest also features some new categories, with entries (and prizes) in each category divided into “Beginner” and “Experienced” groups of contestants:

  1. Pop culture
  2. Basket
  3. Event/Occasion
  4. Elegant
  5. Etched carvings

And, of course, there will be some pretty sweet prizes. Each category will have a $100 first place winner for the experienced carvers and a $100 first place prize for the beginner carvings. Our judges will also choose a $250 “Judges’ Choice” winner from all of the carvings from both the experienced and beginner entries. And, finally, the public will vote online to determine the overall $250 People’s Choice winner.

Stay tuned for more updates and carving inspiration throughout the year. In the meantime, go ahead and start carving. And remember…you can submit as many carvings as you’d like!

UP NEXT: A SWEET VALENTINE’S RECIPE

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FEBRUARY PRIZE: WATERMELON WATER BOTTLE

February 2nd, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

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Image courtesy of Amazon

Every January, I make two New Year’s resolutions — one for the Watermelon Guy here on the blog, and another for my own personal benefit. While the Watermelon Guy’s resolutions keep getting more and more interesting (this year’s will be to set a watermelon-related Guinness World Record), my personal goal usually stays uncomplicated. In fact, for the last few years, I’ve resolved to do something simple — to be healthier.

My goal isn’t necessarily weight loss (although a six-pack would be nice), but I want to change my eating habits to include healthier, more nutritious options. I know I’m not the only one who’s guilty of a late-night rendezvous with the cookie jar, but being more mindful of this will help me change my not-so-healthy habits.

This month, we’re giving away a prize that will help you in your quest to a healthier lifestyle, or just carry your favorite beverage. This Watermelon Water Bottle ($23 on Amazon) can hold 24-ounces of water, coffee or whatever you’d like! Leave a comment on this blog post with an update on your New Year’s resolution, and I’ll choose one comment at random as the winner!

UP NEXT: THE 2016 WATERMELON CARVING CONTEST

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WATERMELON SNAPSHOTS: EXCUSE ME, SIR, THERE’S A BABY IN MY WATERMELON

January 28th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

Earlier this month, I introduced one of our newest blog features, “Lights, Camera, Watermelon!”, which takes a look at the latest in watermelon videos. Now I’m happy to introduce our second new feature, “Watermelon Snapshots.”

For this one, I’ll sift through droves of selfies, memes and retro-filtered photos on Instagram to find the best watermelon snapshots the Internet has to offer. Here are my top five selections for January!

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For being totally adorable and inside a watermelon, this kid doesn’t look too thrilled. Maybe he’s going for that “I’m cute, but I’m bad” vibe. (Image via @funnybabydaily)

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You know what? Even though this is technically a “girl’s bike,” I’d still proudly ride this two-wheeled ode to watermelon around my neighborhood. (Image via @llaollaonuh)

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It’s the ultimate test of love to get a tattoo of someone or something on your body, which is why I could totally see myself getting this slice of watermelon ink for myself. The only question is, where would I put it? (Image via @kiara_marshmellow)

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Looking for an easy and nutritious snack? Fitspiration_goalss shows us a nifty little trick to cut squares right from the rind. Because who needs a bowl when you have a watermelon? (Image via @fitspiration_goalss)

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This optical illusion is making me very, very hungry. Wait, isn’t that hypnosis? Maybe it is. Either way, I’m still hungry. (Image via @futuristufuk)

Stay tuned for next month’s Watermelon Snapshots. If you see any fun watermelon photos online, leave a comment with a link, or upload your own watermelon photos, along with the hashtag #watermelon, for a chance to have your photo featured here on the blog!

REMEMBER: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our January prize — the watermelon backpack — so comment as often as you’d like!

UP NEXT: OUR FEBRUARY PRIZE

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FEATURED RECIPE: SHRIMP AND WATERCRESS SALAD

January 22nd, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

picWinter is the season for hearty, rich, warm foods, but it’s also the season for flavorful additions to your favorite dishes. Actually, that sounds like a good idea every season, and I’m perfectly fine with that.

I picked this week’s featured recipe with flavor in mind for two reasons: I love seafood, and I’d like to get to know watercress a little better.

You’ve probably seen or eaten watercress before and didn’t know it. It’s closely related to mustard greens, cabbage and arugula, and it can be used in all sorts of ways. In fact, the versatility of watercress is one of its best qualities, as it can be used in everything from salads, to soups, to sandwiches. Loaded with protein, and low in calories, this leafy green packs a punch in this recipe for Shrimp and Watercress Salad!

SHRIMP AND WATERCRESS SALAD

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 18-24 inch sourdough baguette
  • 3 ounces fresh, steamed watercress
  • 4 cups seedless watermelon balls
  • 12 tablespoons potato chip-sized shaves of aged white cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup balsamic vinaigrette of your choice
  • 20 chilled cocktail shrimp pieces

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix together the butter, garlic and parmesan. Cut the baguette in half. Slice the halves down the center to form four pieces of bread. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the cut side of each piece of bread. Place on the rack of a preheated 400-degree oven, and bake until browned. Wrap in foil and keep in a warm oven. Sprinkle the watercress over four salad plates. Add the watermelon balls, cheese and shrimp. Drizzle with vinaigrette, and serve with the warm bread.

For more recipes like this, check out the “Recipes” page of the National Watermelon Promotion Board website.

REMEMBER: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our January prize — the watermelon backpack — so comment as often as you’d like!

UP NEXT: WILL WATERMELON MAKE YOU A BETTER ATHLETE?

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MY 2016 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION IS…

January 19th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

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I’ve spent a lot of time over the past several weeks — as I always do this time of the year — thinking about what my 2016 watermelon-related New Year’s resolution will be. Like I mentioned in December, past resolutions have included competing in a seed-spitting contest (2012), growing my own watermelon (2013), competing in a watermelon-eating contest (2014) and last year’s resolution to cook more meals with watermelon.

This year’s resolution is a lifelong dream of mine and promises to be, I hope, the most fun watermelon resolution I’ve attempted thus far. In 2016, I will attempt to set a Guinness World Record for something involving watermelon.

Which world record will I attempt? Good question. I’ll probably attempt several — maybe three or four over the course of the year — and chronicle the process here on the blog. That process will include announcements about which record I’ll attempt next, updates on my practice sessions and full recaps of my successful or unsuccessful official record-breaking attempt.

There are no shortage of existing watermelon-related world records on the Guinness website, either. There’s the “Heaviest Watermelon,” set by our friend, Chris Kent. I probably can’t cross that one off my attempt list, because we all know from my 2013 resolution that I’m a terrible watermelon farmer.

There are several records involving smashing watermelons with your fist, your head or even your thighs. For example, the most watermelons crushed with the head in one minute is 43. That record was set by a thick-skulled gentleman from Germany back in 2011. Maybe I’ll attempt one of those types of records; maybe I won’t.

Or maybe I’ll invent my own record (Guinness has an application process for new records). That certainly seems like the easiest way to enter the record books. After all, if the current record doesn’t exist, any attempt will become the new world record.

Regardless of which route I take to world record immortality, I can promise you it will be a very determined but very fun year filled with highs, lows and probably lots of bumps and bruises. Stay tuned next month for an announcement about my first world record attempt. In the meantime, if anyone has any ideas for new world records I should suggest to Guinness, leave a comment!

REMEMBER: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our January prize — the watermelon backpack — so comment as often as you’d like!

UP NEXT: SHRIMP AND WATERCRESS SALAD

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LIGHTS, CAMERA, WATERMELON! MOLTEN ALUMINUM AND SWEET, SWEET CAKE

January 14th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

This year, I’m going to be switching things up here on the blog with two new monthly features. This one is called “Lights, Camera, Watermelon!” With these posts, I’ll show you two or three of my favorite watermelon videos from around the Web. So, put aside those cat videos and get ready for some watermelon-tainment.

First up is a video from YouTuber TheBackyardScientist, who shows us just what it looks like when you pour molten aluminum into a watermelon. This sounds like the kind of science experiment that my parents said was too dangerous for me. Molten aluminum + a watermelon = exploding fruit? You’ll have to watch and see for yourself.

Spoiler alert: Our second featured video will give you the hunger of a hundred competitive eaters (in case you don’t know, that’s pretty darn hungry). I don’t know about you, but if I saw this sitting on the table, I’d be surprised to find what’s inside. Find out for yourself in this video from How to Cake It.

REMEMBER: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our January prize — the watermelon backpack — so comment as often as you’d like!

UP NEXT: MY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION UPDATE

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SECOND SLICE: ASK THE EXPERTS – WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO WASH YOUR WATERMELON?

January 11th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

Watermelon is arguably one of the easier fruits to consume, as it requires very little effort to eat. You just cut, slice and enjoy, right? Well, sort of.

Many people often forget a small, but very important, step. Washing your watermelon is necessary to remove any dirt or unseen “stuff” that might linger on the outside and be transferred to the inside of the watermelon when you cut into it. Just before you are ready to cut the watermelon, simply give it a light scrubbing with a clean washcloth or sponge.

ROBERT K. OF ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, ASKS: If you’re not going to eat the outer rind of a watermelon, why is it so important to wash the watermelon before you carve it?

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Image courtesy of WikiHow.com

Excellent question, Robert. It’s one that I’m particularly fond of, because I’m a stickler for this important, but often overlooked, step of the watermelon-eating process.

Traditionally, we wash things to make them clean and generally more sanitary, right? We wash our hands before we eat (or at least we should). We wash our dishes. We wash our clothes. We wouldn’t think of NOT washing these things on a regular basis, so it only makes sense to wash our food, too.

The main reason it’s recommended that you wash your watermelon is to remove any dirt or other unseen “stuff” that might linger on the outside and be transferred to the inside of the watermelon when you cut into it. I’m not going to go into details about what sort of “stuff” might be loitering on the rind, but just think about how many people may have handled your watermelon in the grocery store before you purchased it, and that should paint a clear enough picture for you.

That wash-it-before-you-carve-it recommendation isn’t just my opinion. It actually comes from the USDA, the FDA and the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

So, how should you wash your watermelon? According to the aforementioned organizations, a quick but thorough bath under cool, running water should do the trick. For fruits with an outer surface that isn’t eaten (like a watermelon), feel free to also give a light scrubbing with a clean washcloth or sponge. And, although you might be tempted to add some dish soap or detergent to the mix to get things extra clean, the USDA and FDA recommend against that, because those cleaning solutions might not be approved by the FDA for use on food.

From start to finish, your watermelon bath will only take a minute or two, but the results — a clean and delicious watermelon — are well worth it!

REMEMBER: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our January prize — the watermelon backpack — so comment as often as you’d like!

UP NEXT: LIGHTS, CAMERA, WATERMELON!

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FEATURED RECIPE: WATERMELON CRANBERRY-GLAZED PORK CHOPS

January 8th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

There are many reasons why I like the holidays, many of which revolve around the incredible amount of food that crosses my plate during the season. For me, there’s no better way to celebrate with my family and friends than by sharing a delicious, homemade meal.

The only bad part about all that holiday grub is figuring out what to do with it all. If you’re lucky, your family and friends will gladly take some of it off your hands. If not, I’ve got the perfect recipe for you.

Got some leftover cranberry sauce? With a few additions, you could turn it into Watermelon Cranberry-Glazed Pork Chops.

WATERMELON CRANBERRY-GLAZED PORK CHOPS 

2INGREDIENTS (GLAZE)

  • 2 cups watermelon puree
  • 4 cups frozen or fresh cranberries (or use leftovers from your holiday dinners)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Dash of cloves
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS (GLAZE)

Simmer ingredients for glaze together in a heavy saucepan for 20 minutes or until cranberries are tender, and sauce is thick.

INGREDIENTS (PORK CHOPS)

  • 8 pork chops
  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • Watermelon Cranberry Glaze

INSTRUCTIONS (PORK CHOPS)

Place the pork in a large zipper lock bag with rest of the ingredients (except the glaze), and seal tightly. Allow to marinate for at least two hours or up to 12. Grill until cooked, and arrange on a warm platter. Pour the glaze over the chops, and serve immediately.

For more recipes like this, check out the “Recipes” page of the National Watermelon Promotion Board website.

REMEMBER: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our January prize — the watermelon backpack — so comment as often as you’d like!

UP NEXT: WHY SHOULD YOU WASH YOUR WATERMELON?

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