Watermelons Are the Essence of Summer; Just Get a Ripe One

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), July 3, 2018 | Go to article overview

Watermelons Are the Essence of Summer; Just Get a Ripe One


The Corn Tassel Rains diminish and the real summer heat begins. On July 6, the Earth reaches aphelion, the point which it is farthest from the Sun. The darkening moon favors weeding, insect control and the harvest of grains. Morning bird song continues to diminish, making way for the increase in insect volume. Deepening heat brings more Japanese beetles to the roses, leafhoppers to the potatoes and aphids everywhere. Keep flowers and vegetables well-watered to help them resist the onslaught of the incest and weather. Set out autumn collards, kale, cabbage and broccoli in the weeks ahead while the moon waxes.

July 6, the Running of the Bulls starts today in Pamplona. I have seen fighting bulls up close and as personal as I ever want to get. No way would I run down a narrow street with a herd behind me.

I haven't bought a watermelon in years. I am always disappointed in my choice, can't even do a good job buying a half or quarter. What I think looks good, usually is mealy, and I hate that. We talk about Posey County melons, but in my youth, we ate White County ones. There was a place outside of Carmi, going toward Crossville that had all kinds of melons. You could see the fields, the market was spread around a huge tree. I watched people thump, smell and otherwise use tricks their parents taught them for picking the right one.

I like that they plugged the watermelons, so you got to see what color it was inside. And when you got home, if it were your turn, you got to eat the plug. When I was melon shopping on my own, also went to Carmi to this same stand. I remember how disappointed I was when they no longer plugged a melon. I don't know that it really was enough to make sure your melon was ripe/not over ripe, but I always felt like it gave me a better chance than thumping. Never did hear anything that told me anything about the melon. So now, when I go to Thursday soup day, I have watermelon too. (And I don't have to make room in the fridge.)

Did you ever make a watermelon basket? I never have, don't even recall having seen a "real" one, just pictures. In the magazine Table Talk a 1908 edition printed this from a reader. "The watermelon was served in a way that none of us had seen before. A large platter was brought in, and on it was a watermelon basket . …

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