Valley Bounty: August 9, 2014: Melons

Watermelons, cantaloupes, and honeydews are here! Find fragrant, sweet melons in different shapes, sizes, and colors at farmers’ markets and farm stands. Smaller, gourmet melons are bursting with flavor and take up less room in the refrigerator (which is great for single serving needs). Melons can be enjoyed with little to no prep time—eaten plain, in a fruit salad, or tossed with feta or prosciutto for a savory-sweet side dish. Watermelon-basil cooler makes a refreshing, seasonal drink! Find recipes, preservation tips (like pickled watermelon rind) on CISA’s Recipes and Cooking Tips page.

By Abby Getman of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA).

Here is CISA’s list of where you can find melons right now.


Watermelon Basil Cooler

By Abby Getman

In a large pitcher, add 2 cups of diced melon (I prefer a sweet watermelon, but muskmelon varieties can be used) and 4 sprigs of basil. Fill with water and let sit, covered, for 3 hours. Strain and enjoy immediately over ice or refrigerate for later. Don’t refrigerate with basil leaves in the drink, as they will turn brown. If I have time in the morning, I like to prepare it for a refreshing lunchtime beverage. Mixologists are having fun with melon-basil flavors, so feel free to experiment with your favorite libations!

Try Brookfield Farm’s sweet melon salsa.

Town Farm provides a recipe for Cantaloupe Tarragon Ice Pops.

Mountain View Farm’s Watermelon and Cucumber Gazpacho.


By Margaret Christie

I would never have thought of preserving musk melons in any way, but it turns out you can dehydrate melon fairly easily.  The resulting chewy fruit is a little candy-sweet for my taste, but if all the melons in your garden are coming ripe at once, as they tend to do, a food dehydrator can turn a huge pile of melons into a dried fruit in a hurry, and perhaps you’ll love it on your winter oatmeal or granola.

Red Fire Farm has a great watermelon rind pickles recipe.