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Watermelon Days

By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: June 29, 2009, from the July 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Who doesn’t have an affection for this fruit that is the epitome of summer?Juicy, sweet with a bright pinkish-red flesh dotted with black and white seeds, watermelon is difficult to eat and prepare without getting messy—but that’s sometimes part of the fun. A fruit that can be as delicious as candy, the mere mention of it conjures visions of blue skies, green grass and sticky fingers. But because of its novelty, watermelon’s nutritional and skin care benefits often can be overlooked.

Watermelon is the lycopene leader in fresh produce, having higher concentrations of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable, even fresh tomatoes. It also promotes cardiovascular health, and a two-cup serving is an excellent source of vitamins A, B-6 and C.1

Thought to have originated in the Kalahari Desert of Africa, approximately 200–300 varieties of watermelon grow in the United States and Mexico, and the most popular are seeded, seedless, mini or personal-sized, and yellow- or orange-fleshed watermelons. The United States ranks fourth in overall watermelon production, with Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia and Texas ranking as production leaders.2

In the kitchen

Watermelon is commonly used in salads, soups and desserts, as well as being enjoyed all on its own.

It is a favorite of spa cuisine chefs and is used is a variety of seasonal dishes, including the Jumbo Lump Crabmeat and Watermelon Salad at Aji Spa’s café at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa in Chandler, Arizona; and the Chilled Watermelon and Mint Soup at Sense, A Rosewood Spa at Little Dix Bay in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands. At the Canyon Ranch Grill in Miami Beach, Florida, guests can enjoy the Seared Watermelon With Tomato Salad with Red Wine Vinegar Syrup and Basil Seed; and Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico, serves the Watermelon and Roasted Baby Beets Salad with Goat Cheese and Fennel. Also, try the recipe for Watermelon Consommé With Black Pepper and Olive Oil Sorbet from Executive Chef James Overbaugh and Sous Chef Brandon Weaver of The Peninsula Beverly Hills, home of The Peninsula Spa.

In the spa