Monday, August 20, 2012


In our house, as in most Israeli houses, there is always one fruit for sure in the fridge during summer - it is a watermelon. We buy a big one each week, and we cut it up in portions and eat it everyday. There is nothing better than cold juicy watermelon slices to savor in the heat.

Oh yes, already Nahum Guthmann, our beloved and soulful painter of life, views and issues in the Mediterranean land of plenty of fruit, knew this and documented it in one of his loveliest pictures.
The word "avatiach" watermelon today in Hebrew, is mentioned in the Bible (Numbers 11:5 - 4. Mose 11:5), when the Israelites complained about the man that fell on the dew in the morning, and remembered the good things they had to eat in Egypt, like fish, and melon, and garlic, and onion, and leek, and "avatiach". But most probably in those times the word meant cucumber, and the word is translated in all the modern Bibles as cucumber - but sure enough watermelon and cucumber belong to the same family.  I read on the Internet, that Egypt hieroglyphs depicting watermelons are found from far back as 5000 years - so maybe the Israelites ate watermelon after all in Egypt?
Besides the wonderful fresh and thirst quenching taste the watermelon has many nutritional properties. It is a source of Vitamins, A, C and B6, and is rich on beta carotene. Its potassium can help you prevent leg cramps. It is very watery, most of its weight is water.
Did you know that the watermelon rind is eatable too? I don't think I want to try, but in China they stir fry it with olive oil and garlic and even pickle it.
There are many watermelon recipes but we just like to eat them as they are, or with small pieces of salty cheese. One of my daughters loves to serve them as a refreshing drink, crushed in a blender, with a bit of sugar sirup and lemon, poured over a lot of ice cubes. Watermelon is given here as a summer dessert - after the barbeque, after the Shabatt dinner, and on very hot days it just will replace a meal.

Always wash your watermelon thoroughly before cutting it up. Store it in the fridge with cling wrap around it if it is already cut open. Finish it off in some days, don't store the cut up fruit too long.

Nowadays the watermelons are almost seedless. That was not always so. My husband tells me, that his grandmother would pull the seeds out of the dissected  watermelon before serving, wash and dry them, and toast them with a bit of salt in the oven. In those times, the watermelon came to the neighborhood right off the field, on a cart pulled by a horse, the seller shouting: "Avatiach, Avatiach" and people would come out of their houses and buy, no, not one or two, several at least, and as many as ten for some families with a big bunch of children, and they would store them in the shade under the trees in the garden.

Two summers ago, while on vacation here, one of my twin granddaughters copied the watermelon eater from the print on our kitchen wall for me as a gift - I love it almost more than the original! :-)

And now, after finishing this post, THAT'S my treat! :-)


Dawn of LaTouchables said...

What a great idea for today...I will get one!

Thanks for the history and the story of your husband's mother's memories...precious.

stardust said...

Hi, Yael, I’m surviving the scorching heat with the help of cool and fresh watermelon. As an adult I also cut it into a bite size like the last image and eat with fork but as a child I wildly bit into a watermelon and competed with my siblings how far we could spit off seeds. Stay cool and have happy summer days.


Eva said...

Appetizing, really! As we are only two persons in our household, we don't have them so often, but the idea to cook the peel serves two purposes! I will try that. After eating a "karpuz", as the Turkish say, it seems that the refreshing effect lasts longer than by drinking water or juice, because the water is kept back in the cells of the plant in my stomach for some time.

Eva said...

... and I think the drawing is even better than the painting...

Smilla said...

Oh chère Yael
da hast du mir einen riesigen Glust serviert!!
Schick dir heiter-heisse Grüsse!
Ich denke du bist dich der hitze mehr gewohnt wie ich! Sitze in der verdunkelten Küche mit einem Venti und träume jetzt von einer Wassermelone ; )

Lisa said...

A wonderful tribute to my favorite .. I love watermelon ... and corn on the cob... to me .. they are Summer! We like our slices with a squeeze of lime ......... mmmmm .. I think I will go have a slice!!!
Enjoy your day!

Bob Bushell said...

Mouth watering, yummy yummy.

Terri said...

My grandma made watermelon pickles out of the rind... yummy.
My dad always put salt on his melon and cantalope, too. Something wrong with the seedless ones, don't you think so? The taste is like the seeds are are there in the flesh. We always try to get one with seeds, but they are getting harder to find.

Friko said...

You need a hot day to eat watermelon; we don't have any of them, it's always cool here.

I eat other, non-watermelon melons instead.

Annuk said...

Yummy!!!! Watermelon IS Summer!
Enjoy, Yael! :)
And... what a talented granddaughter you have... art is definitely in the family genes!

TarracoStyle said...

Muy Rica. En España también comemos mucha sandía fresquita, pero a mi , me gusta más el melón.

Hilde said...

That looks so yummy :)
We too eat watermelon here in summer, my two girls really love it.

The drawing your granddaughter made is really good. She is very talented!

Have a lovely day, Yael :)

wanda miller said...

my FAV, yael...that and big juicy ripe peaches! i love this history you have here and thank you. i could eat watermelon till the "cows come home"! i just love the feel and look of the painting...especially, your copy!thank you for that delicious post you left me. you brighten ALL my days, dear one. and about that verification times it's so difficult it's crazy! thank you for pursuing enough to leave your message. xoxo


I love watermelon too. I can eat half a one without problem.
Thank you so much for your comennt. It is so nice to feel missed.