A QUICK WORD ABOUT WATERMELON…

(AND RECIPES FOR REFRESHING SUMMER BEVERAGES)

PLUS A FEW GREAT WATERMELON COCKTAILS & MOCKTAILS

A Quick Word …

In a time when we are celebrating and redefining cultural and personal identities on our own terms, we should also consider what this means for our foodways. 

Juneteenth is the perfect opportunity to reclaim and redefine our relationship to foods that have been used as symbols to demean who we are. Specifically, we are talking about watermelon. This luscious fruit (or vegetable to some since it belongs in the same family as cucumbers and squash) has long been used in imagery intended to depict black folks as lazy, messy, and low class – just generally, undesirable. It is high time people put some respect on the watermelon.

It has been around since the time of the Egyptians and is grown abundantly in warmer climates throughout the world. Like many of our favorite foods, it has African origins and traders made its introduction to the other parts of the world. Did you know that watermelon is China’s favorite fruit and is considered an appropriate gift when visiting someone’s home? A third of the watermelon available in the U.S. is grown in Central American countries. (Tajín, anyone?) After emancipation, watermelon was among the top goods sold by free blacks at markets because it could be easily grown. However, clearly we aren’t the only ones eating it.


A SUMMERTIME STAPLE

We all know how notably refreshing watermelon can be in the summer. Have you wondered why? It is composed of 92% water, naturally sweet, low calorie, contains lycopene, an antioxidant found in many red/orange fruits and veggies, and is rich in potassium, a major electrolyte. It’s the perfect food to keep you going while working or playing in the sun.  This is why it makes an appearance at the cookout – no matter your ethnic background.  We now have watermelon flavored spirits, jams and jellies, pickled products (actually, this is not new), frozen treats, to name a few applications found in markets.

Watermelon has been holding us down for a long time.  Let’s be proud! Let’s not hide when eating it at work or feel ashamed or self-conscious when it’s available at functions away from home. While we are “reclaiming (our) time,” taking up space, and letting the world know who WE are, embrace the foods that have been a part of our cultural history and showcase their beauty and positive attributes.

Check out the where watermelon grows so you can enjoy the best flavor all year


A FEW GREAT WATERMELON COCKTAIL & BEVERAGES RECIPES TO TRY THIS SUMMER

Well Done Drea | Watermelon Lemonade

Cookie Named Desire | Watermelon Margarita

The Minimalist Baker | Strawberry Chia Watermelon Smoothie


Sources:

Nutritional benefits of watermelon

Specific nutrient composition of watermelon

Quick watermelon history lesson

And be sure to check out more of our quick and easy plant-based recipes and leave a comment to let us know how you like it!

Live Love and Eat Good Food!

The Vgn Way

Tywana Ishman,MS, RD,LD

Find me on: Web

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