How about these interesting facts on the watermelon’ The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt. There are over 1,200 varieties of watermelons that are grown worldwide in 96 countries. Early explorers used watermelons as canteens. The first cookbook published in the U.S. in 1796 contained a recipe for watermelon rind pickles. Breathing in the subtle fragrance of watermelon may help bring pleasant memories from summers past to the forefront of your mind, according to Thomas Shipley, Ph.D, a food psychology expert at Temple University in Philadelphia. The scent activates the amygdala, the brain region that governs memory and emotion, to invoke those happy vibes. Watermelons have been found to assist the immune system, help lower blood cholesterol, promote a healthy heart and weight loss, maintain memory function and urinary tract health, help stops strokes by controlling blood pressure and lower the risk of some cancers, especially prostate and skin. Some experts say that red watermelon is an even richer source than tomatoes. Lycopene helps prevent sunburn and long-term damage by fighting UV-induced free radicals. In fact, people with a lycopene intake equivalent to two cups of watermelon a day had 40 percent less sunburn after exposure to UVB light, according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition. So savor this fruit to sun- proof your skin. Watermelon has no fat or cholesterol and is an excellent source of vitamins A, B6 and C and contains fiber and potassium. Watermelon is rich in retinoic acid, a derivative of vitamin A that reduces roughness by stimulating the growth of healthy new skin cells. The fruit is also rich in vitamin B, a nutrient that locks in moisture to leave skin feeling smooth and looking radiant. Look for a firm, smooth melon with a dullness to the rind and heavy by weight as these melons are 92 percent water. The underside should be yellowish or creamy white. Avoid melons with bright white or greenish colored undersides. Watermelons can keep in the refrigerator for up to five days or on the counter for up to a week. Watermelons are available in Texas from May through November. Most of the watermelon festivals in Texas were in June, July and August with DeLeon being the last. There still is another one scheduled for the Plains in September-‘according to www.watermelon.com’if you happen to be in the area. South of the Border Watermelon Walla-Walla Sweet Onion Salsa 2 cups chopped watermelon (seeds removed) 3/4 cup chopped Walla-Walla Sweet Onion 3/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained 1/4 cup chopped seeded jalapeno pepper 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt Stir together all ingredients in bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour to blend flavors. Stir before serving. Next week: Nectarines Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published tradebooks. These articles have been written and published strictly for information purposes. For any questions contact Susan at trijrsL@msn.com or www.fruitandveggienurse.com

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