Seasonal Ingredient of the Week: Watermelon

Cravings around pollen HQ are a little different to your normal office, this week's being a constant demand for watermelon - fresh, juiced, in a smoothie, shaken with mint and vodka, we've heard it all (and satisfied most). And understandably - it's the perfect fruit for a warm summers day: light, refreshing, juicy and perfectly sweet. 

With it's distinct green striped shell, and bright pink flesh, watermelon is thought to originate from Africa, and varies a lot from the other types of melon, being more watery with a less intense flavour. You can find them year round, but they're at their best, and available in abundance from June through to September. 

Picking the perfect watermelon can be an art form in itself - a ripe melon should sound hollow when tapped and feel heavy for it's size (yes we're those people you see at the supermarket tapping every watermelon before buying one). The skin should be hard too, not bruised, cracked or spotted and not give too much when pressed. If you're buying it pre sliced, the flesh should be bright and not grainy, the seeds black not white. 

RECIPE IDEAS 

There is nothing more enjoyable than a huge slice of fresh watermelon - the kind that are bigger than your face and manage to drip everywhere, but it's just as delicious in recipes too. 

- Freeze your watermelon. It sounds so simple, but tastes so good. Cut it into bite size chunks and throw it in the freezer, never again will you need ice lollies. 

- Make slushies. Just take that frozen watermelon and blend it with a little frozen banana and lime for the ultimate creamy frozen drink. 

- Add it to your salads. Sliced watermelon goes well with so many ingredients. Try it with summer greens, white quinoa, courgetti, avocado, mint and walnuts with a lime dressing.

- Make watermelon juice. Simply blend watermelon slices with ice cold water, or juice watermelon and mix with a little water, then serve with fresh mint leaves. 

- Try grilling your watermelon. It sounds strange but it's delicious. Brush with a little oil (we like basil infused) then grill on the bbq for 5 minutes.