Harvest Highlight: Watermelons

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It is a one-in-a-melon time of the year! Sliced, diced, or balled, watermelons are rich in vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids that aid in everyday health. When picking up that heavy melon, picture it full of water! Making up 92% of its composition, thus providing you with a juicy hydration source during these sweltering hot days.

It’s a hot day and you can’t wait to cut into that melon to cool off, but wait! Have you washed it first? Picture the melon rolling around in the ground, the surfaces it has come into contact with, and the hands that have touched it! According to theWatermelon slices USDA, to reduce the number of microorganisms found on the outside of the melon, wash under cool running water to wipe away surface dirt first, and then follow up with a clean scrub brush. Whatever is on the outside can contaminate the inside if best food safety practices are not followed.

Once cut, there are many ways to consume this tasty summer fruit. According to Watermelon.org, 85% of consumers eat watermelons raw/plain. Have you ever tried adding it to a recipe?

Watermelon Salsa:


3 cups Watermelon, seedless and diced

1 cup Cucumber, peeled and diced

½ medium Sweet Onion, diced

¼ cup Feta, crumbled

¼ cup Cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons Mint, chopped

1 small Lime, juiced

1 tablespoon Lime Zest

Dash of Salt as needed

*For optional heat, add 1 tablespoon Jalapeno, minced, and seeds removed.


  1. Wash and pat dry the fresh produce.
  2. Appropriately chop and dice the fruits and vegetables. Try to achieve similar size in cuts. If using the jalapeno pepper,
  3. Combine the watermelon, cucumber, onion, and fresh herbs in a medium-sized bowl. Squeeze lime juice over the mixture and sprinkle the lime zest.
  4. Gently toss in the crumbled feta. Taste and add salt if needed.
  5. Allow to chill in the refrigerator or serve immediately. Eat in addition to chicken or fish tacos, serve with baked tortilla chips or on its own.


  • After cutting the watermelon, add to a colander to allow the juice to drain. This avoids a watered-down salsa.
  • Don’t prefer the feta? Leave it out!
  • You can choose to add both the herbs or choose one over the other.

Find an easy recipe for Baked Tortilla Chips to serve with your salsa here: https://lee.ces.ncsu.edu/sanford-farmers-market/2022-market-menu-recipes/

Visit the Sanford Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m.- 12 p.m. to pick you out a delicious and nutritious summer melon!

N.C. Cooperative Extension’s goal is to provide the residents of the community with research-based knowledge. For more information on nutrition, health, food preservation, and food safety in Lee County please contact the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Ashley Szilvay at 919-775-5624.