By Amanda Stone
CARTHAGE, Mo. —
A watermelon exploded all over me today.
My faithful followers, you may remember me mentioning waiting for my lone watermelon to ripen. Oh, how I waited. It was my only one. My watermelon baby. I only have one child. I know what it’s like to appreciate that one fruit of my labor.
I did my research. Watermelon is supposed to be ripe and ready when its stem is brown and crunchy. I picked it the same day I ripped out all of my other squash and melon plants. The blasted squash beetles ruined everything. I brought the watermelon inside and placed it gently on the kitchen counter. There it sat for probably two weeks. From my research, I knew that it could hang out for a while. I don’t know what I was waiting for. A special watermelon eating occasion? A picnic? A party? I don’t know. I just don’t know.
Today my watermelon baby sprung a leak. I noticed a small puddle next to it on the counter. Upon further inspection, I saw a tiny hole continuously spurting liquid. Well, I thought, it must be time! Close to panic, I grabbed my largest knife.
As I plunged my knife into its hard shell and sawed down the middle, the watermelon burst forth its seeds and spray. There was an audible “pop!” I’ve never seen anything like it. My body was thrown back in slow motion from the shock of it all. My knife landed on the floor behind me; I still have all of my digits, thank goodness. That stinking watermelon was fermented. I didn’t want to believe it, although I could smell that it just wasn’t right. I tasted it. Twice. Huge sigh.
Melons don’t last forever, folks. Let my story be an example for you. My precious watermelon now lies, halved, in my compost pile. It will probably be the source of many a drunken rodent in my neighborhood. Much like human labor, I hope that time helps me forget the physical and emotional pain this melon caused. I could try again next year. Or maybe it will be my lone melon, like my much loved only child. Only time will tell.
Try these recipes if you have a watermelon story that was more successful than mine.
1/2 red onion thinly sliced and soaked in ice water to soften its bite
4 cups diced watermelon, patted dry
1 cucumber, seeded and sliced
Handful of fresh mint, chopped
Handful of chopped pecans or cashews
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup feta cheese
Squeeze dry onion and toss together with watermelon, cucumber, mint and nuts. Add olive oil and lemon juice. Top with crumbled feta.
Make lime simple syrup by adding a teaspoon of lime zest to a 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water and bringing it to a boil. Simmer until sugar dissolves, then cool.
Meanwhile, puree chunks of watermelon in a blender. Remove seeds first. You’ll need about a cup of puree for this recipe.
In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 tablespoons of the lime syrup with the cup of watermelon puree. Shake with 1/2 cup tequila, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 2 tablespoons orange liqueur and ice. Shake until chilled. Pour into glasses (I like mine rimmed with salt) and garnish with slice of lime.
Have questions? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail her c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.