Jul 15, 2009 | July 2009, Nutrition

A cool sweet summer treat

By Janis Turk

It wouldn’t seem like summer without an iced-down watermelon in the backyard for a picnic. But don’t wait to have a Fourth of July barbecue to bring out that wonderful, cold red treat! Watermelons are good for you. They’re an excellent natural food that’s a good source of vitamins A, C and B6.

Did you know that ancient Egyptians also enjoyed watermelons? And why not! It was hot there, too, so Texans aren’t the only ones who crave the cool, refreshing, watery taste of this sweet vegetable! (No, it’s technically not a fruit, believe it or not). It’s said that we’ve had watermelons in North America since the 1600s, and we’ve loved it ever since. Especially here in Texas watermelons are a big hit. They’re an inexpensive, delicious, nutritious, large-sized snack that can feed a lot of people, and you can even grow them in your garden!

Folks in the nearby small town of Luling, off Interstate 10, are big watermelon fans. In fact, it’s their town mascot of sorts, and there’s even an annual Watermelon Thump festival each June when citizens celebrate this delectable gourd-like treat. There’s even a Watermelon Queen crowned each year at “The Thump.”

Water is one of the best parts about watermelons, as they are about 92 percent water and eight percent sugar. Early explorers sometimes used watermelons as a canteen, according to Ranjan Shandilya on the Web site www.buzzle.com. Though it seems watermelons would be pretty heavy to haul around with you on horseback or in a wagon. Life is easier for us now. We can get water from the tap and watermelons at the store. Watermelons are found everywhere–even sold on the side of the road this month!

So enjoy a nutritious, delicious treat. Have watermelon, blueberries and strawberries with whipped cream for a special Fourth of July celebration desert. Or enjoy chunks of icy cold watermelon for breakfast on the porch in the mornings. Have a big bowl of watermelon balls and cantaloupe balls on hand in the fridge when the kids come in from the pool. This cool treat will rehydrate them while giving them a sweet taste of summertime fun.

For more information about watermelon, go to.  www.buzzle.com/articles/watermelon-facts.html.

South Texas Fitness & Health