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Watermelon, Yum!

A few weekends ago when my kids stayed with their grandma, they went grocery shopping for food to eat while at her house. When she asked them if Slice of watermelonthey liked watermelon, they enthusiastically told her yes but that they don’t get it very often because their dad doesn’t like it. Poor dad got the blame. They do get it fairly regularly when it is in season, but I have to admit, sometimes when I don’t buy it is because I’m not in the mood to cut it up. However, since we created our How to Prepare Melon video that we shared in the blog last week, I’m ready to cut-up the watermelon for the kids to enjoy!

I’m also starting to get better at choosing a good melon. I’ve chosen a couple of tasty ones recently and I use the suggestions in our Produce Basics tips on melons.

I’m also working watermelon into some recipes. When I bought a watermelon a couple of weeks ago, I made our Fruit Slush recipe. It was very refreshing served with crushed ice and my seven-year-old son even liked it. You should give it a try!

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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How to Cut a Melon

Have you ever come home from the grocery store, set a great looking melon on the counter, and then wondered what to do now? Well, I have.

Cutting a melon can seem like an overwhelming task. We tried out some different ways to cut a melon and put our favorites in a How to Prepare Melon video. These methods will work for most varieties of melon (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon). Take a look and let us know what you think.

Most of all, enjoy the taste of fresh melon while we have it!

 

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Choosing the Perfect Melon

Many big sweet green watermelonsHave you ever bought a melon thinking how wonderful it will taste, only to find that when you cut it up, it doesn’t have any flavor? How frustrating that is! Here are 5 steps to picking a ripe melon.

1. Look for damage.
Choose a melon that’s not damaged on the outside. It should not have any bruises, soft spots, or cracks.

2. Check the color.
When buying watermelon and honeydew, choose a melon with a dull looking appearance. A shiny outside is an indicator of an underripe melon. Honeydew melons should be pale yellow in color, not overly green. For cantaloupe, the skin underneath the net-like texture should be golden or orange in color. Avoid cantaloupes with green or white color skin.

3. Check the size.
Pick up a few melons and see how they feel. Choose a melon that is heavy for its size.

4. Check the stem.
The stem end should give to gentle pressure but not be soft.

5. Smell it.
This works best with cantaloupes and honeydew. Ripe melons should smell sweet but not be overwhelming. If it smells really sweet, it might be overripe.

Good luck choosing your next melon!

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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Storing Fruits and Vegetables

Most of us are buying more fruits and vegetables. That is a good first step.  But should you wash them before you put them away or just before you serve them?  Should you store them in the refrigerator or on the counter?  Will they continue ripening at home?  The answer to these questions is…it depends!

Some fruits have better flavor if they are stored at room temperature. Tomatoes, unripe melons, and tree fruits (pears, peaches and nectarines) should be kept at room temperature so they can ripen and become sweeter.  After they are fully ripe, store them in the refrigerator until you are ready eat them.  Tomatoes will keep longer if stored with the stem side down.

Generally it is better to eat vegetables as soon as possible after picked. However, some vegetables like celery, cabbage, bell peppers and carrots will keep one to two weeks in the refrigerator.

When to wash fruits and vegetables also “depends”. If your produce has dirt on it, wash it before storing.  Otherwise you can probably wait to wash your fruits and vegetables before you eat them. Neither the USDA nor FDA recommends washing fruits and vegetables in anything but cold, drinkable water.  Do not let produce soak in the sink.  You do not need to wash them with special products or dishwashing detergent.  Melons, cucumbers, winter squash, citrus fruit, and potatoes should be scrubbed with a brush. Bananas need to be rinsed off as well.  Imagine how many hands touch the fruit before it gets to your mouth.

The University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension has a handy chart called Garden to Table: Storing Fresh Garden Produce.  I posted a copy on the side of my refrigerator for more specifics for each vegetable and fruit.