One of the fondest memories that would always remind me of my late Dad is our happy snacks on a hot summer afternoon with luscious and refreshing watermelon. We usually love to cut it into large wedges and munch on with our hands bare. Being a practicing lawyer, my Dad used to frequently go out of town with his clients with whom he provided legal services all around and outside Metro Manila. My younger brother and I, who were still little kids at that time, would be patiently waiting, day by day, for his homecoming. We were always excited to know what this man, whom we lovingly missed for several days, has got for us as he never failed to bring us take home treats whenever he came back from a distant place. One Friday evening, we were already expecting father to come home from the province of Pangasinan, and one of the big bosses gave him those 3 pieces of huge and sweet watermelons as bonus pay. We poor lads had already been sitting next to the window, shouting out for Dad’s name. When we finally heard the honking of his car horn, that was already a signal that he was already driving on the street to home. We would gleefully run towards our doorstep to greet him with very tight hugs and kisses. These little supermen were very much delighted to see what father has got for them and, as mighty as their little arms could, would try to grab those bulky treats from father's hands (which were, by the way, almost as heavy as our own weights). We would place those bowling ball-like melons inside the fridge as tomorrow would definitely be a holiday bonding with the dearest Dad.
Summer season in the Philippines is also the time of the year when huge fields are in abundance with these sweet and energizing fruit coolers, locally known as pakwan. Originally a native to Africa, watermelon is now widely cultivated in most tropical countries and harvested during the hottest months. China and Turkey are the biggest producers of watermelon today. In the Philippines, the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga and Pangasinan farm the bulk of watermelons being transported to Manila. Watermelon contains 92% water and 8% sugar. Its high water and electrolyte content makes it as an ideal thirst-quencher that helps us keep hydrated and replenished under the summer heat. Being a mild diuretic, it can also keep our kidneys clean of harmful toxins and help us maintain a glowing skin.
I would always love to have my watermelons sliced straight from the fridge and eaten plain. I can still remember our crazy watermelon eating contest with Dad, with which the one who has collected the most number of empty rinds at hand shall win. The declared winner would get the chance to have none other than – one whole watermelon. How ridiculous is that for a prize? Now that I am grown up, I still eat watermelons with my barehands but sometimes I do add different flavors to have more varieties. Occasionally, I mix them with fruit punches or blend them into smoothies - one of my favorite among them is the Minty Watermelon Yogurt Smoothies. It is very simple to make but so delicious. Perfect to have under the scorching sun, summer or not.
Aside from being a replenishing cool-aid summer drink, watermelon has also used increasingly nowadays in fresh salads along with other fruits, berries and vegetables. For me, watermelon is not only a refreshing thirst-quencher that helps me survive the parching heat, it also symbolizes beautiful and nostalgic memories of Daddy.
Minty Watermelon Yougurt Smoothies
Yields 5 glasses
- 3-4 cups of chilled and deseeded watermelon chunks
- 1 cup crushed ice
- 4 pcs. calamansi or 1 pc. lemon, juice extracted
- 1-2 tbsps. honey or to taste (optional)
- 200 grams creamy plain yougurt
- 2 x 80 mL. probiotic drink
- mint leaves, to taste and garnish
- Put the watermelon, ice, citrus juice and mint leaves in the blender.
- Puree until the mixture is slushy but do not overblend.
- Add the honey (optional), yogurt and probiotic drink and pulse in for 10 seconds or just until smooth.
- Pour in a glass and garnish with some mint sprigs. Serve with straw. Enjoy!
TIPS FROM ENZ:
- You may freeze the chunks of watermelon beforehand so you do not need to add ice.
- You may put other fruits to blend like banana, strawberry and kiwifruit.