National Watermelon Month 2010

It's no secret that I have a mild obsession with fresh fruits and vegetables. In my garden alone, I grow strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, two kinds of tomatoes, three kinds of lettuce, and my favorite summertime snack. . . WATERMELON! (Like I said?a MILD obsession?)

While scouring the Internet this past spring, looking for information regarding growing watermelons in my backyard garden, I came across the National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB), an organization which states it operates with a single objective: to increase consumer demand for watermelon through promotion, research, and educational programs.

This site offers a very informative 16-page "Food Service Guide for Watermelon, " that, in my opinion, should be mandatory reading for ANYONE in the Food Service industry looking to expand their menu selection. From discussing the versatility, the variety, the value, and the nutritional benefits of this fregatable, as well as safe handling practices, recipes, and carving ideas, this guide covers all the basics for incorporating watermelon into your restaurant?s menu.

For example, did you know that 70% of watermelon is edible while only 30% is comprised of the rind? According to the NWPB, a 20 lb. watermelon, priced at $6.00 would yield 14 lbs. of usable product (around 28 cups of watermelon) at only $0.21 / cup. Think of the profits that await you at a cost of only $0.21 / cup!

Additionally, watermelon is low in fat and cholesterol free. It is rich in the antioxidant lycopene, provides an excellent source of citrulline (an important amino acid), and is a good source of vitamins, C, B1, B6 and a source of vitamin A. Add all this together, and watermelon is very popular with the health-conscious crowd.

Today, on National Watermelon Day, and all throughout National Watermelon Month, why not give this wonder-fruit a try? Add it to a new recipe, serve it along your buffet lines, or dish it up alone as a refreshing summer side dish.

Have an amazing watermelon recipe? Share it in our comments section below for everyone to enjoy!

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