(Family Features) There’s no time like a hot summer picnic to let your patriotic spirit show. These all-American snacks featuring a classic favorite fruit – watermelon – are the perfect solution for nearly any summertime celebration.
Watermelon is a patriotic picnic staple for countless reasons, not the least of which is that it’s a beloved treat that many people associate with memories from childhood. However, nostalgia isn’t the only reason adults are just as likely to gravitate toward watermelon at a summer event. Its sweet, cool and refreshing flavor also makes it a favorite for all ages.
From a practical standpoint, watermelon is also quite portable, versatile and easy to serve, and with a composition of 92% water, it’s a simple way to sneak in some extra hydration on a hot day. Another benefit is its value; watermelon is one of the best values in the produce section among fruit, and just one watermelon can feed up to three dozen people.
Serving watermelon at a party can be as simple as slicing wedges, or you can prepare a dish such as:
* A fruit basket, with the rind serving as a colorful bowl to hold the watermelon and other fresh fruits.
* A charcuterie board with a selection of fruit, cheese and protein for simple snacking.
* Creamy parfaits, perfect for a summery brunch or alternative to more traditional desserts.
* A creatively colorful and patriotic “cake” that makes for a tasty centerpiece on the dessert table.
Find more ideas for incorporating watermelon into your summer festivities at watermelon.org.
Easy Summer Thirst Quencher
A simple fruit-infused water can give your summer event an instant upgrade in no time at all. Add extra dimension and complexity to the flavor by adding some of your favorite herbs like basil and mint.
Watermelon-Infused Water2 cups watermelon balls or cubes
1 cup other fruit, such as berries
herbs, such as basil or mint
Place watermelon, fruit and herbs in pitcher and cover with water. For best flavor, allow to chill in refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.
Red, White and Blue Watermelon Parfait
1 cup blueberries1 container (6 ounces) Greek yogurt (vanilla, lemon or coconut)
1 cup watermelon, plus three pieces diced watermelon
whipped cream, for serving
In pint canning jar, layer blueberries, yogurt and 1 cup watermelon. Top with whipped cream and garnish with three diced watermelon pieces.
Note: To make ahead or make thicker, drain Greek yogurt on paper towels to absorb some liquid.
Patriotic Fruit Salad
Slice 1/4 inch off bottom of watermelon, lengthwise, to create stable base.
Use pencil to draw zig-zag lines for basket opening. Using paring knife, make cuts through rind.
Carefully remove top section, pull out large chunks of flesh and cut them into 3-by-3-inch squares.
Trim 3/4-inch thick slices off squares to use for cutting out stars with 1 1/2-3-inch, star-shaped cookie cutters.
Use ice cream scoop to remove flesh from inside basket and cut scoops into quarters for fruit salad. Place in bottom of basket. Add honeydew and blueberries; stir to combine.
Cut out white stripes from honeydew.
Garnish top of fruit salad with watermelon stars, honeydew stripes and blueberries.
Patriotic Charcuterie Board
1/2 medium seedless watermelon, cut into wedges
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
10 strawberries (dipped in white chocolate, if desired)
5 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup toasted, salted cashews
2 ounces cured meats like prosciutto, pancetta, coppa, salami, soppressata, sausage or pepperoni
1 Honeycrisp apple, cored and sliced
fresh basil leaves
On large board or platter, arrange watermelon, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cheese, cashews, meat and apples. Drizzle fruit with lemon juice. Garnish with basil leaves before serving.
Flag Kebab Cake
1 pint fresh, washed blackberries
12 wooden skewers
1 seedless watermelon, flesh cut into 1-inch cubes
1 angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes (white part only)
dips, such as yogurt, chocolate, caramel or marshmallow (optional)
Thread five blackberries on each of five skewers, followed by alternating watermelon and cake cubes.
On remaining skewers, alternate watermelon and cake so first and last cubes are watermelon. Place skewers on platter; fruit and cake will create stars and stripes when lined properly.
Serve with dips, if desired.Source: National Watermelon Promotion Board