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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Fruits & Nuts

GIFT: Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire

Charming and nostalgic, a lovely family gift. Photo courtesy Melissas.com.

 

How would you like to roast your own chestnuts at home? Just the fragrant aroma of them is enough to make mouths water and fingers itch to peel them for snacking.

You don’t need a working fireplace to roast the chestnuts. Back in the old days, the fireplace was the only source of heat. Today, we have other options.

You can roast chestnuts in the oven in a pan, or on the stovetop with a special chestnut roasting pan. The chestnut roasting kit in the photo, complete with two pounds of chestnuts, is $48.99 at Melissas.com.

Compared to other nuts, chestnuts are composed chiefly of starch; other nuts have a larger percentage of protein. The nutritional composition of chestnuts is similar to that of other starchy foods—corn, plantains, potatoes, etc. Yet, they are a better-for-you snack, a good sources of minerals, vitamins and some high-quality protein.

 

HOW TO ROAST CHESTNUTS

1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Cut an X on the flat side of each nut using a small, sharp knife. Be careful not to cut into the nutmeat.

2. OVEN ROASTING: Place the nuts in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet and roast until the scored portions begin to curl up and the nuts release their fragrance, 15 to 20 minutes.

CHESTNUT PAN ROASTING: Heat the pan over medium-low heat and add the chestnuts. Cook, tossing the chestnuts frequently, until the shells crack and the chestnuts are cooked through. The timing is 30 to 35 minutes over a gas flame burner or 35 to 40 minutes over an electric or induction burner.

3. REMOVE the nuts to a plate and eat immediately. Peeling the nuts is part of the fun, and each person may want to peel his or her own (or, you can peel all of them in the kitchen before serving). However, they are hot. Pick up individual nuts using a kitchen towel or other protection; with fingers or knife, peel away the shell. Remove the inner skin, pop a nut into your mouth and enjoy.

 

THE CHRISTMAS SONG: LYRICS

“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” is the informal name of “The Christmas Song”; it was originally subtitled “Merry Christmas to You.” This Christmas classic was composed by Mel Torme and Bob Wells in 1946. The most popular recording remains the first one, recorded by Nat King Cole. Here’s Nat King Cole on YouTube—the vocal track over a Christmas tree and fireplace visual.

You can sing along:

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping on your nose,
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,
And folks dressed up like Eskimos.

Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe,
Help to make the season bright.
Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow,
Will find it hard to sleep tonight.

 

A street vendor roasts chestnuts over hot coals. Photo by Achromatic | Wikimedia.

 

They know that Santa’s on his way;
He’s loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh.
And every mother’s child is going to spy,
To see if reindeer really know how to fly.

And so I’m offering this simple phrase,
To kids from one to ninety-two,
Although its been said many times, many ways,
A very Merry Christmas to you.

  

Comments

TIP OF THE DAY: Thanksgiving Fruit Plate

Who would have thought that fresh fruit could have such a Thanksgiving theme! We found this idea in in the Dole Pinterest stream and couldn’t resist making one ourselves. In fact, it’s a great project to keep the kids busy on Thanksgiving.

Ingredients Per Fruit Turkey:

  • 6-8 apple slices
  • 9-10 orange segments
  • Pear half
  • For the feet: 6 orange peel strips (or yellow bell pepper)
  • For the face: 2 mini chocolate morsels, peanut half
  •  
    You can make and enjoy this fruit gobbler for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacking throughout Thanksgiving weekend. Consider adding a side of yogurt or cottage cheese.

     

    Photo courtesy Michelle Furlotte | Dole | Pinterest.

     

    THANKSGIVING FRUIT & VEGETABLE GIFTS

    Looking for something very nice and also very good-for-you? Turkey-decorated cookies may be cute, but premium produce is more considerate, not to mention more welcome during this calorie-packed season.

    Melissa’s, America’s premier purveyor of fine fruits and vegetables, has an e-store that makes sending healthful gifts a snap.

    You’ll find everything from traditional and organic deluxe fruit baskets to organic vegetables, including several varieties of Organic Purification Boxes and options that include specialty foods and wines.

     

    Refill the Christmas sleigh with goodies all season long. Photo courtesy Melissas.

     

    Gifts We’d Like To Receive

  • Chestnut Roasting Kit, $54.99
  • Exotic & Tropical Fruit Basket, a delightful way to introduce people to items such as Asian pears, cherimoyas, feijoas, kumquats, pepino melons, persimmons, sapotes, tamarillos, and fresh lychees, $67.95
  • Baby Veggie Basket, $71.99; also available without the gift basket, in a nice carton, $51.99
  • Organic Fruit Sleigh, which can be refilled with whatever you like for a season-long holiday centerpiece, $59.99
  •  
    Cooking Kits For Kids

  • Banana Crepes Kit, $25.99
  • Ambrosia Applesauce Cooking Kit, $54.99
  •  

    For Kids & Adults

  • Melissas Great Book Of Produce, a beautiful volume for junior or senior cooks, $29.99
  • Fresh Strawberry Basket With Chocolate Dip, $52.99
  •  
    These are only the tip of the iceberg. For your perusing pleasure, check out:

  • Gifts Under $100: http://giftbaskets.melissas.com/Gifts-Under-100-s/1840.htm
  • Gifts $100-$200: http://giftbaskets.melissas.com/Gifts-Under-200-s/1841.htm
  • Gifts Above $200: http://giftbaskets.melissas.com/Gifts-Under-500-s/1842.htm
     
    You can also shop by occasion (Birthday, Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Corporate, etc).

    If you prefer to talk to a live representative, call 1.800.588.0151, Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm Pacific Time.

    Most gifts are vegan (some with packaged foods may not be) and gifts that comprise only fresh fruits and/or vegetables are de facto kosher.

      

  • Comments

    GIFT: Marina’s Cranberry Chutney

    For a party favor, stocking stuffer or a pantry
    staple, to enjoy quality cranberry sauce all
    year long. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    Cranberry jelly is easy to figure out, but what is the difference between cranberry sauce and cranberry chutney? How about cranberry conserve? Cranberry relish?

  • Cranberry Conserve is a generally mixture of more than one fruit (added oranges, for example), often with added nuts and raisins, that is cooked until it becomes thick.
  • Cranberry Chutney, made with fruit or vegetables, usually includes vinegar, onion and spices. It’s of Indian origin (chatni is the Hindi word for strongly spiced). While people who only know Major Grey’s Mango Chutney (a British concoction in 19th-century India) may think of chutney as sweet, it does include vinegar, lime juice, onion and tamarind.
  • Cranberry Jelly is simply sweetened and jelled fruit juice, a clear, bright product. It is generally made by cooking fruit juice and sugar with pectin as a jelling agent and lemon juice as an acid, to maintain a consistent texture. Jelly is firm and will hold its shape.
  • Cranberry Sauce. A sauce is cooked; the fruit softens and is bound buy a syrup made from the fruit’s juices, water and sugar. Optional spices can be (and should be!) added.
  •  

  • Cranberry Relish. A relish is not cooked. In the case of cranberry relish, the cranberries are chopped, mixed with sugar and other ingredients: apples, oranges/zest, lemon juice/zest, brandy or Grand Marnier, fresh ginger, etc.
  • So there is an official difference, even though one person’s conserve may be another person’s chutney.

    There are textbook terms, and then there are mis-uses by people who inherited the misuse or weren’t likely to do culinary research. In olden times, the distinctions weren’t codified; hence, Boston Cream Pie is a layer cake, and cheesecake is a cheese custard pie.

    Sometimes, people choose names that they think have more sales appeal. We’ve received pies called crumbles (a pie has a bottom crust, a crumble does not), jams called preserves (the difference), buttercrunch called English toffee (the difference), etc., etc. So if you care about being correct, look it up.

    MARINA’S CRANBERRY CHUTNEY

    Marina’s Cranberry Chutney is made from cranberries, sugar, onion, oranges, raisins and walnuts, seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and cayenne.

    Her prime business is raising pork, and the lovely layering of flavors in her cranberry condiment is a beautiful complement to pork or poultry.

    Given the multiple fruits, raisins, nuts and lack of vinegar, we’d call it a conserve, not a chutney. But to paraphrase Shakespeare’s Juliet: What’s in a name? That which we call a chutney by any other name would taste as good.

    The onion is a delightful touch and the cayenne is so subtle that heat-avoiders won’t even know it’s there. Sold in 16-ounce jars for $5.99, it’s available from Marina’s website, CircleBPork.com. It’s available on Amazon for $6.99.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Currant Cocktail

    Currantlicious: currant juice, vodka and triple sec. Photo courtesy CurrantC.

     

    We are huge fans of CurrantC black currant juice.

    It looks like grape juice, but don’t let that fool you: It’s a bit grape-like, but currant tastes distinctive, bold, pleasantly tart and sophisticated. It’s the kind of juice wine drinkers would choose if they were designated drivers.

    And the extraordinarily high antioxidant levels of currants make blueberries, chocolate and green tea dull news.

    Look for CurrantC currant juice, or buy the concentrate online. Then, replace your morning O.J. with an even better-for-you glass of currant juice, cook with it (Cumberland Sauce is a classic for game, duck and pork), make sorbet and other desserts.

    And start with this delicious cocktail, a great fit with holiday celebrations. The recipe is courtesy CurrantC.

     
    CURRANTLICIOUS COCKTAIL RECIPE

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces currant juice
  • 2 ounces citron or regular vodka
  • 2 ounces Cointreau, triple sec or other orange liqueur
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • Ice
  • Garnish: lime wheel or curl
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice; shake and strain into a chilled Martini glass.

    2. GARNISH with line and serve.

    The juice is also delicious frozen into high-antioxidant popsicles.

  • Currant soda, with juice and sparkling water
  • Ice cream and sorbet
  • Mousse and pudding
  • Salad dressing
  • Smoothies
  •  

    MIX CURRANT JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE

    It’s cost-effective to buy the concentrate and mix your own juice: 8 ounces cold water to 1 teaspoon CurrantC black currant concentrate. If you’d like it sweeter, you can add sweetener to taste—and keep the calories lower with a non-caloric sweetener.

    Look for recipes and buy currant concentrate and juice at CurrantC.com.

     

    CURRANT HISTORY: FORBIDDEN FRUIT

    Black currants are extremely popular in Europe and, prior to 1911, were big in the U.S. In 1911, the commercial cultivation of currants in the U.S. was outlawed by an act of Congress—for its alleged part in spreading the disease, white pine blister rust, which threatened the U.S. timber industry. The ban was based on incomplete scientific knowledge of the disease.

    At the behest of New York State farmers in this century, scientists from Cornell University revisited the white pine disease issue and concluded that currants didn’t pose the threat to white pines that was once believed.

    Until April 2003, black currants were “forbidden fruit” in the U.S. Then, following the Cornell studies, New York State* overturned the black currant farming ban, opening the door for New York currants—for eating, juice, jam, yogurt, tea and other applications. It’s also a boon for family farms, which now have an in-demand, non-commodity crop to revive sagging revenue.
     
    *The ban still stands today in several states.

     

    A bowl of fresh-picked currants. Photo courtesy CurrantC.

     

    CURRANTS VS. RAISINS

    Since domestic currants only began to appear in the marketplace recently, what are those things we’ve been calling currants?

    They are the so-called Zante Currants, which are actually raisins (dried grapes) that have nothing to do with real currants.

  • Grapes grow on vines and are sweet; currants grow on bushes and are quite tart.
  • The botanical family of currants is Saxifragaceae, genus Ribes while the botanical family of grapes is Vitaceae, genus Vitis. The relationship is apples to bananas.
  • Raisins have little or none of the black currant antioxidants studied in the research.

  • Why the confusion?

    After the commercial cultivation of currants was outlawed in 1911, currants dropped off the culinary radar screen. In the 1920s, Greece began to export small dried seedless grapes, one-fourth the size of the average raisin, from the area of Corinth, known in the U.S. as Zante currants

    Zante currants are not currants: They are the dried form of an ancient Greek grape variety properly called the Black Corinth, Vitis vinifera, the smallest of the seedless grapes. They come from the third largest Ionian Island called Zakýnthos, which is often called Zante (and where they were first cultivated more than 2,000 years ago).

    On the first shipment, the Greek writing for the word “Corinth” was mistakenly translated at the pier into “currant.”

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Bare Fruit Apple Chips

    An apple never tasted better. Photo by Elvira
    Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Our favorite packaged sweet snack, Bare Fruit apple chips has expanded the line to two new “flavored” chips. The lineup now includes

  • Chili Lime Apple Chips
  • Cinnamon Apple Chips
  • Fuji Red Apple Chips
  • Granny Smith Apple Chips
  • Sea Salt Caramel Apple Chips
  •  

    They’re as satisfying as candy—in fact, much more so, since they’re a guilt-free, all fruit and just 50 calories per bag. Each bag is the equivalent of eating an apple, so you also contribute to your recommended daily fruit and fiber servings.

    Caramel Apple is perfect for Halloween; all varieties of these naturally sweet chips (no sugar added but a special baking process caramelizes the apple’s natural sugar) are great for:

  • Dieter Gifts
  • Glove compartment, desk drawer, gym bag, etc.
  • Stocking Stuffers
  •  

    Here’s our favorite packaged salty snack, which also should be on your stocking stuffer radar: HalfPops, fiber-filled half-poppped popcorn that we like even better than conventional full-popped.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: The Banana Police

    Here are two of the amazing banana dishes we found on TheBananaPolice.com. There’s quite a selection of them, turned into create fruit plates and cereal.

    And there are simpler versions that any of us could create. See them all at TheBananaPolice.com: boats, butterflies, cars, dogs, dolphins, elephants, horses, snails, sunsets, trees and more.

    The website is the creation of Katy Koontz and Kelsey C. Roy, the writer and illustrator, respectively, of a children’s book called The Banana Police.

    The story takes place in a jungle town where the formerly loveable elephants become increasingly annoying to their neighbors. When the Mayor calls on the Elephant Police to devise a scheme to get the elephants to leave, the town ends up buried in all the extra bananas that the elephants usually eat. The tale underscores the value of peaceful co-existence and cooperation between inherently different groups.

     

    A banana tree, cantaloupe giraffe and honeydew grass. Photo courtesy The BananaPolice.com.

     

    The website also has family-friendly banana recipes and trivia, some of which is included below:

     

    Kiwi and banana alligators poke their heads
    up from a bowl of cereal. Photo courtesy
    TheBananaPolice.com.

     

    BANANA TRIVIA

  • Wise. The scientific name for banana is Musa sapientum, which means “fruit of the wise men.”
  • Plant. Bananas do not grow on trees. While they look like trees, they are actually the world’s largest herbaceous flowering plants.
  • Float. Bananas float in water, as do apples and watermelons.
  • Hawaii. Hawaii is the only place in the U.S. where bananas are grown commercially, although at one time they were also grown in southern California and Florida.
  • Latin America. The overwhelming majority of the bananas consumed by Americans come from Latin America: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama.
  •  

  • Cavendish. The type of banana found in supermarkets is the Cavendish banana. The preferred banana variety was originally the Gros Michel, which was largely extinct by 1960, due to a fungus called Panama Disease.
  •  

    Here’s more banana trivia.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cape Gooseberries

    If you’re not familiar with the cape gooseberry, the fruit’s short season begins soon. Keep an eye out, and pick up a box.

    The cape gooseberry is a close relative of the tamarillo and the tomatillo, as well as the tomato—all members of Solanacaea, the Nightshade* family. The genus originated in the Andes Mountains, in the area that is now Ecuador, Colombia and Peru.

    The “cape” is a papery husk that is left on for garnishing and removed for cooking. There are also capeless varieties, which are similar in taste but lack the delicate beauty of the cape.

    Because of the scarcity and the cost, cape gooseberries are used sparingly, often as colorful garnishes on plates or cocktail glasses.

     

    Cape gooseberries. Photo courtesy Rose Jones | Flickr.

     
    But these flavorful little fruits, looking like miniature cherry tomatoes, are eaten as berries or cooked into chutneys, compotes, desserts, jams and jellies, meat glazes, pies, purées, sauces, or garnishes for plates and beverages. For a fancy dessert garnish, dip them in chocolate.

    The berries need to be eaten when they are very ripe; otherwise, they can be tart. But as part of your adventures in food, experiment. If they aren’t sweet enough, you can bathe them in sugar water, sprinkle with sugar or cook with added sugar.

    HISTORY OF THE CAPE GOOSEBERRY

    Thousands of years ago, Inca farmers high in the Andes cultivated the wild bounty that grew on their lands: sixty varieties of beans, cape gooseberries, cherimoya, dragon fruit, peanuts, potatoes, prickly pear, squash, tamarillo, tomatoes and quinoa, among other crops.

    The bright orange berry, also called the Aztec berry, golden berry, ground cherry, husk tomato, Inca berry, Peruvian cherry and poha, grows at 7,500 to 10,000 feet. Traders brought them to Florida and Louisiana in the 1700s. Cajuns brought them to Quebec, where they are still cultivated.

    They grow wild throughout a great part of the country They are cultivated in the U.S. and also grow wild here, having escaped their cultivated fields centuries ago. They are grown in Europe and as far away as Australia, which cans them for distribution to the rest of the world.

     

    Antidote chocolate is made in Ecuador, home
    of gooseberries, which they add to chocolate. Photo courtesy Antidote Chocolate.

     

    RECIPE: POACHED GOOSEBERRIES

    Thanks to Andrew Faulkner of Melissas.com for this recipe.

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 small lemon
  • 1-1/2 pints gooseberries, husks removed
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the sugar and water, bring to a boil and boil 8 to 10 minutes.

    2. ADD the lemon and gooseberries and cook 5 minutes, until the fruit is just cooked through (about 12 minutes in all).

    3. COOL in the syrup. Serve as a topping for ice cream, or serve warm over sponge cake or angel cake with whipped cream.

     
    RECIPE: GOOSEBERRY BUTTER SAUCE

    This sauce, by Tom Fraker for Melissas.com, can be served over squash, a white fish fillet, or as a dessert sauce.

    Ingredients

  • 3 pints gooseberries, husks removed
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 6 ounces dry sherry
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MELT the butter in a medium sauce pan. Add the gooseberries and the brown sugar. Stir and cook over medium heat until the berries start to brown and begin to soften.

    2. ADD the sherry and lower the heat to simmer. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries completely break up and sauce thickens slightly. If desired, strain the sauce pressing on the solids with a ladle into a bowl.

     
    *Nightshades are members of the Solanaceae family of flowering plants, many of which are edible, while others are poisonous (some have both edible and toxic parts). The name of the family comes from the Latin solanum, “the nightshade plant.” Other edible members include capsicum (the chiles), Chinese lanterns, eggplants, garden huckleberry, ground cherry, naranjilla, pepinos, peppers, potatoes and the tree tomato. One thing that sets these nightshades apart is their alkaloid content. Alkaloids are harmful nitrogen compounds which, in high quantities, are toxic, causing nausea, diarrhea with vomiting and headaches. In extreme cases they lead to unconsciousness and convulsions to the point of respiratory paralysis. That’s why the tomato was considered poisonous by Europeans and not eaten for 200 years following its discovery. Alkaloids exist in tiny, non-harmful quantities in the nightshade foods we eat. Tobacco and the petunia are also members of the family, as well as the Datura or Jimson weed, the mandrake and the deadly nightshade or belladonna.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Ice Cream & Grilled Fruit

    Grill your dessert: grilled fruit topped with
    ice cream or sorbet. Photo courtesy
    Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

     

    With the end of grilling season in sight, make every meal count. Here, an easy dessert favorite: grilled fruit with ice cream or sorbet.

    The fun begins when you decide which fruit to pair with which flavor of ice cream or sorbet. So stroll through the market aisles and get your creative juices flowing.

    RECIPE: ICE CREAM & GRILLED FRUIT

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (Key lime if possible)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • Fresh fruit: 4 peaches, 10 apricots, 1 pineapple,
    2 mangoes, 2 bananas, etc.
  • 4 large scoops ice cream or sorbet
  • Optional garnish: caramel sauce, chocolate sauce,
    crème fraîche, mascarpone, whipped cream
  • Preparation

    1. PEEL and slice fruit.

    2. COMBINE lime juice and brown sugar in shallow dish; mix well. Add fruit, stir to coat; cover and marinate 30 minutes or longer. Meanwhile…

    3. PREPARE indoor or outdoor grill by brushing grill rack with oil and heating. Place fruit on grill rack, and grill 2 to 3 minutes per side.

    4. DIVIDE fruit evenly among four plates; top with a scoop of ice cream. Drizzle with chocolate sauce or other garnish, as desired.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Add Nuts, Raw Or Roasted

    Nuts are good for you, and you should enjoy an ounce of them daily as a heart-healthy snack or ingredient: added to salads (green, chicken, egg, tuna, pasta, etc.); chopped and mixed with rice; atop hot or cold cereal, pancakes or French toast; on cottage cheese or yogurt; on ice cream and frozen yogurt; and anywhere else your imagination takes you.

    But is there a difference between raw nuts and roasted (toasted) nuts?

    In a recent Science Times Section of The New York Times, C. Claiborne Ray, who writes the Q&A column, quotes Rui Hai Liu, a professor of food science at Cornell University. Dr. Liu has studied the benefits of eating nuts.

    “No research has specifically addressed how roasting nuts may change their nutritional value,” said Dr. Liu.

     

    Toasted or untoasted? Photo courtesy
    BakeYourDay.net.

     
    Dr. Lui opines that roasting will not decrease the benefits, and “it may actually improve the bioavailability of some bioactive compounds” like flavonoids (powerful antioxidants). He has found a positive effect when tomatoes and sweet corn have been roasted.

    Phenolic compounds* in nuts “have high antioxidant activity and are able to quench free radicals that lead to cell damage and oxidative stress,” Dr. Liu said. “Nuts also have a very nice fatty-acid balance and are a good source of vegetable proteins.” And they are linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

     

    Grilled fish with cilantro pesto and slivered
    almonds. Photo courtesy National Almond
    Board.

     

    Walnuts have the most phenolic compounds and antioxidant activity, followed by pecans. Then come peanuts, actually a legume. Pistachios, cashews, hazelnuts and almonds also have high levels.

    We love nuts raw or roasted, but the flavors are distinctively different. For fun, have a snack tasting or cocktail tasting with two different nuts, each served both raw and toasted. We recommend starting with almonds and walnuts for a broad spectrum of flavors. Here’s how to toast nuts.

  • The health benefits of nuts and the seven healthiest nuts
  • Here’s the original article.
  •  

    *Phenols, sometimes called phenolics, are a class of chemical compounds consisting of a hydroxyl group (—OH) bonded directly to an aromatic hydrocarbon group.
     
    †Flavonoids, called vitamin P until the early 50s, are the most important plant pigments. The highest-antioxidant foods (blueberries, cherries, pomegranate, etc.) get their deep colors from these antioxidants.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Watermelon Boat

    Put your fruit salad or munchies in a
    watermelon boat. Photo courtesy Old World
    Gourmet.

     

    Have you ever carved a watermelon basket? The simple watermelon boat shown in the photo is a charming presentation. Most people fill it with fruit salad, but you can create rows of assorted munchies: cheese cubes, crudites, fruit, salami cubes.

    While it puts some labor into Labor Day, you can carve a true work of art from a watermelon, and it’s a fun project.

    The National Watermelon Promotion Board is here to help you, with almost 60 carved watermelon designs to inspire your fruit artistry. Beyond the conventional basket filled with fruit salad, there are:

  • Animal watermelons: cat, fish, hippo, ladybug, moose owl, penguin, pig, porcupine, rabbit, robot, seal, shark, turtle, T-Rex, whale
  • Kids’ watermelons: Minion (from “Despicable Me”), pirate skull and bones, smiley face, treasure chest, Viking helmet
  •  

  • Sports watermelons: eight ball, football helmet, golf ball, race car, sailboat, surf wave
  • Summer theme watermelons: beach bucket, flip flops, flower garden, flowers,
  • Assorted fun watermelons: Angry Birds, mermaid, purse, submarine, tea pot, tiki mask
  •  
    There are more, of course, including lovely basket designs and holiday-themed watermelon boats: Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, etc.

     

    RECIPE: WATERMELON RELISH

    Take some of that watermelon flesh and rind and make yummy watermelon relish. Use it to top burgers and hot dogs, mix it with yogurt for a dip, mix it with mayonnaise for a sandwich spread.

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups watermelon rind, dark-green skin removed and white part cut in 1/3-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2½ cups water and ¾ cup water, divided
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 pinch each cinnamon and cloves
  • 2 cups diced watermelon
  •  

    Watermelon relish. Photo courtesy National Watermelon Promotion Board.

     

    Preparation

    1. MIX rind with 2-1/2 cups water and 2 tablespoons salt. Let stand covered at room temperature overnight. Drain and rinse well.

    2. COMBINE in medium saucepan the sugar, 3/4 cup water, 2 teaspoons salt, the lemon zest and juice, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the rind and cook gently for about 40 minutes or until the rind is translucent and tender (do not boil hard as mixture might caramelize). When done, remove from heat and cool.

    3. MIX in the diced watermelon.

    Makes 3/4 of a quart. The watermelon relish will keep refrigerated for 4 days.

      

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