(Family Features) With temperatures cooling and cravings leaning toward comforting flavors, fall offers a perfect time for families to explore adventurous twists on favorite foods. As you and your loved ones rework the menu for autumn, turn to versatile ingredients that provide fresh tastes and new ways to enjoy classic recipes.
One star ingredient that can be used for appetizers, main courses, sides, snacks and desserts alike is watermelon. In fact, using the entire watermelon (rind included) means you’ve discovered a sustainable way to create nutritious meals without food waste.
Consider these simple, delicious ways to use the entire watermelon in your kitchen.
In the fall, whole watermelon is still available in many areas. You can also find mini watermelon in the fresh cut produce section at many local grocers. The flesh is often the favorite (and most-used) part of the watermelon. Served on its own as a hydrating snack or as part of a recipe for tasty entrees, the flesh offers something for nearly every appetite so no watermelon goes to waste.
Watermelon is 92% water, making it a sweet choice for staying hydrated. Even if your watermelon is overripe, don’t throw it out – instead, juice or puree it to retain value and nutrition. Use it to sweeten this Watermelon Bourbon Glaze then drizzle over a perfectly grilled flank steak and serve with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables for an ideal fall meal.
The rind is often thrown out – many people don’t realize you can eat it, too. The rind absorbs flavors added to it and adds an unexpected texture to this Watermelon Walnut Currant Chutney. Try serving over brie with crackers or simply dip with naan or baguettes.
Find more flavorful fall solutions to avoid food waste at Watermelon.org.
Watermelon Bourbon Glaze with Grilled Flank Steak
- 1 1/2 cups watermelon juice (approximately 2 1/2 cups chopped watermelon, blended)
- 2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1/4-1/2 cup bourbon
- 2 pounds flank steak or London broil
- 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
- In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce watermelon juice to 2/3 cup. Toward end of reduction, add garlic. Remove from heat, cool 10 minutes then add soy sauce, brown sugar, hot sauce and bourbon. Mix well.
- Place watermelon-bourbon glaze in large zip-top bag. Add steak and massage to cover meat. Close bag and refrigerate 3-4 hours.
- Heat grill to high heat. Remove steak from plastic bag and gently shake to remove excess glaze.
- Grill steak 4-6 minutes; turn, grill 4-6 minutes, depending on thickness of steak. Remove from heat. Steak should be pink in center.
- Allow steak to rest on platter or cutting board 10 minutes.
- Mix small amount of watermelon-bourbon glaze with cornstarch. In small saucepan over medium-high heat, add cornstarch mixture to remaining glaze and simmer 3-5 minutes. Reduce to medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
- Cut flank steak on bias into thin strips. Drizzle watermelon-bourbon glaze over top.
Watermelon Walnut Currant Chutney
- 4 cups watermelon, juiced
- 2 cups watermelon rind (white part), diced small
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1/2 medium white onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 2 tablespoons currants
- 2 tablespoons roasted walnuts
- 1 wheel brie cheese, for serving
- crackers, for serving
- In saucepan over medium heat, reduce watermelon juice to 2 cups. Combine with watermelon rind, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, white onion, garlic, nutmeg, cloves, lemon zest, lemon juice, currants and walnuts; simmer until almost dry.
- Chill and serve over brie with crackers.
(Family Features) Watermelon rinds make for more than just attractive containers for serving cold dishes and beverages. The rind can also be used in creative, edible ways and is good for your heart.
Watermelon, both the flesh and the rind, is a good source of a compound called citrulline, an amino acid that raises levels of arginine in the blood, which in turn helps maintain blood flow, healthy blood vessels and heart health.
Whether you’re eating for good health or good taste (or both), you can use the rind to make pickles and relishes, grate into salads and slaws, toss into stir-fry and add to smoothies and juice. The key to chowing down on watermelon rind is knowing how to prepare it. These three preparation methods can help you put that rind to good use:
Pickled: Watermelon rind is similar to a cucumber, which is why it’s no surprise that pickled watermelon rind is a popular option.
Juiced: Most people know you can enjoy juice from red flesh of the melon, but you can juice the rind, too. Just like the watermelon flesh, the rind is loaded with water and nutrients.
Stir-Fried: When it’s cut up, watermelon rind is just like a vegetable, which means it can be tossed in a pan and stir-fried right alongside broccoli and carrots.
Look for more creative ways to use your watermelon rind at watermelon.org.
Watermelon Rind Pickles
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 2 cups peeled watermelon rind, cut into 1-1/2-by-2-inch pieces (leave thin layer of pink)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 allspice berry
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 4 peppercorns
- 4 whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon pickling spice
- 1 long slice of fresh gingerroot
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
- In large pot over medium-high heat, bring water and salt to boil. Add rind pieces and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Strain. Transfer rinds to large metal bowl.
- In saucepan, combine watermelon rind, sugar, berries, vinegar, peppercorns, cloves, pickling spice, gingerroot and celery seeds. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer 15 minutes until slightly reduced. Pour over watermelon rinds in bowl. Place plate over top to keep rinds submerged in liquid.
- Cover and refrigerate 1 day. Transfer to glass jar and keep sealed in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
Watermelon Rind Stir-Fry
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 cups watermelon rind, julienned (white part only, from about 1/2 of seedless watermelon)
- 1 cup julienned carrots
- 1/2 cup chives, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 piece (about 1 inch) ginger, minced
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup mint leaves
- crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- In wok over high heat, heat sesame oil. Add watermelon rind and carrots and fry, stirring constantly, 1-2 minutes. Let sit over high heat 1 additional minute without stirring. Add chives and stir to combine.
- In small bowl, whisk together honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic and ginger. Pour sauce over watermelon rind and cook, stirring, 30 seconds-1 minute, until fragrant.
- Transfer to serving dish. Add basil, cilantro and mint, tossing to combine. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired, and serve.