By Lucie Robson
In the same way the lengthening days and first summer visit to the beach are uplifting, I always find the appearance of seasonal watermelons a welcome sight.
They simply broadcast summer. Their green striped coats look so fresh, especially since you know they’re hiding the promise of juicy, thirst-quenching, red flesh within.
The mountains of watermelons you encounter at every supermarket, froutaria and even being hawked at the roadside during this season, give you a sense of summertime abundance. You start imagining endless litres of refreshing, chilled watermelon juice and bottomless supplies of cooling, sweet slices of this generous fruit heaped up on a plate that practically replenishes itself until the hot weather fades (and somehow this eventuality is impossible to imagine).
With the positive vibes that the first watermelons emanate, I find it difficult to imagine there will come a day, round about the start of August, when I’ll be sick to high heaven of them. But that day is here.
I’ve simply got tired of trying to come up with imaginative things to do with them (because somehow, even though they’re delicious, watermelon juice and chunks get plain repetitive).
Why do I buy watermelon then, you might ask? At this stage in the summer, most of the time I don’t. I get given it by friends and neighbours who are, apparently, experiencing a surplus.
Why not say no to their offers? The answer is so obvious I barely see the sense in writing it; you just don’t say no to such things in Cyprus.
You accept the watermelon with a smile and a thanks and wonder where you’re going to stuff it in your fridge. Then you wonder if stray cats like watermelon. Maybe if you chuck some halloumi in with it they will.
Anyway, it seems I’m not the only one who has this shaky relationship with this bountiful summer fruit. Overwhelmed by a few mammoth wedges in my fridge, not to mention a bag of frozen chunks stashed in my freezer, I started searching for inventive ideas about what to do with an excess of watermelon.
Seems there is an organisation in the States that is dedicated to all things watermelon-related. It’s called the National Watermelon Promotion Board and it has a website full of recipes for all kinds of bevvies and bites; cocktails, breakfast, appetisers, salads, side dishes….and the list goes on.
You just can’t believe what these folks have come up with. There are some fairly obvious suggestions like watermelon gazpacho and nachos with watermelon guacamole. Not so obvious are BBQ grilled spicy watermelon slices, watermelon rind stir fry and – one for the Brits – fish and chips with watermelon reduction.
It’s amazing how creative you can be with the humble watermelon.
This creativity is going to have to wait for me though. This week I have decided to take advantage of the un-appetising heat to do a fruit fast – with watermelon.
Happy watermelon days! Enjoy them while they last.