Sweet Hydration: Stay cool this summer with the season’s most refreshing fruit

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Oh, watermelon! This quintessential summer fruit is one of the most popular consumed across the world—and it’s for good reason. While its juicy, sweet flesh contains nutrients and beneficial plant compounds, it’s also very low in calories and 91% water, helping you hydrate on those sweaty summer days.    

Sure, watermelon tastes perfect eaten in slices or chunks, but if you want all the benefits (and deliciousness) of watermelon in a sexier package, check out these local treats.

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Watermelon Wave Smoothie

Berry Blendz 

1585 N. High St.

This classic smoothie blends watermelon with strawberries, raspberries, and bananas for a sweet and refreshing summer treat. Add a Hangover Blend or Multi-Vitamin Blend for an extra energy boost. 

Watermelon Margarita

Bakersfield Short North

733 N. High St.

If we had to choose an official cocktail of summer, it would have to be a fresh, cold watermelon margarita. A perfect blend of Espolon Blanco, Aperol, watermelon, fresh lime, and agave, Bakersfield’s fits the bill beautifully. 

Paradise Punch

Zest Juice Co. 

980 W. Fifth Ave.

Fair warning: This punch is addictive. We like to think of it as orange juice on vacation. The acidic citrus juice is sweetened up and somewhat watered down by a blend of watermelon and pineapple juices. The result is a refreshing juice you could sip all summer day long.

Citrus Watermelon Salad

Pat and Gracie’s Kitchen x Tavern

340 E. Gay St.

(only on Gay St. menu, not on Clintonville location menu)

If watermelon is the quintessential summer fruit, then this is the quintessential summer salad. Spring mix is the base for this bright and beautiful dish including watermelon, oranges, dried cranberries, red onion, candied pecans and bleu cheese crumbles drizzled with Pat & Gracie’s homemade citrus vinaigrette.  

When it comes to creating your own dish from watermelon, it doesn’t take much to make it delicious. The key is to use fresh fruit and to play up its sweetness, often with contrasting flavors and textures. Here are a couple of  tried-and-true recipes for your next summer barbeque.

Watermelon and Cucumber Salsa (V,GF)

This versatile salsa is perfect atop grilled chicken or served with chips. The sweet and spicy salsa is the very essence of summer. Eat it al fresco for the ultimate effect!

2 c. watermelon, diced

1 c. cucumber, diced

¼ c scallions, chopped

¼ c fresh cilantro, chopped

1-2 tbsp. jalapeno, diced

⅛ tp. cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Gently combine all ingredients. Serve. If making in advance, drain the salsa before serving. 

Watermelon Gazpacho (V, GF)

Ditch the cooking with this simple summer soup, served cold. This gazpacho is undoubtedly the best way to use extra veggies from your garden or from the local farmer’s market. It doesn’t get fresher than this.

4 c. watermelon, chopped

1 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped

1 cucumber, chopped

½ red onion, chopped

1 yellow or red pepper, chopped

2 limes, juiced

10 fresh basil leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the ingredients in a blender or food processor, reserving about a quarter of the mixture before blending. Blend until combined well and pour into a large bowl. Add the reserved ingredients to add texture and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. 

If you like this, read: What’s on Your Plate: New dishes to try now

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