Items this week at the Stillwater Farmers’ Market are cucumbers, egg plant, garlic, herbs, melons, okra, onions, peppers, squash, tomatoes, watermelons, breads and jellies, cut flowers, eggs, German bratwursts, plants, soaps and lotions, Southwest cuisine and much more.

Stillwater Farmers’ Market is open in Strickland Park, 309 N. Main, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Oct. 31. Its website is www.stillwaterfarmersmarket.com.

Several different varieties of melons and watermelons are found at the Stillwater Farmers’ Market. When strolling through the market, one can smell the sweet aroma of ripe cantaloupes and find several other varieties of melons. Watermelons are in abundance with red and yellow flesh varieties, seeded and seedless, small icebox size to large family size. All are grown locally and picked fresh for you.

When choosing a watermelon, look for one that is firm, free from bruises, cuts and dents. It should feel heavy for its size since watermelons are 92 percent water. The watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it laid on the ground and ripened in the sun.

Wash the watermelon in running water, rinse well and pat dry. Cut the flesh from the rind and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in a sealed container and place in the refrigerator. Cut watermelon should be consumed within three to four days.

One cup of watermelon has 40 calories. Watermelons have no fat or cholesterol. A recent study by the United States Department of Agriculture about watermelon consumption and heart healthy benefits was completed and published March 2007. The NWPB has four new structure-function claims derived from this study (found at www.watermelon.org/watermelon_nutrition.asp):

• Watermelon consumption increases free arginine and citrulline, which can help maintain cardiovascular function.

• Eating watermelon can help maintain cardiovascular health.

• Watermelon has amino acids such as citrulline and arginine that help maintain the arteries.

• Watermelon amino acids citrulline and arginine can help maintain blood flow and heart health.

Watermelons are very tasty and healthy for you. Have some fun with them too. I came across www.watermelon.org, which has some really cool carving ideas with pictures and step by step instructions.

Melon Soup

4 cups melon, peeled and cut into chunks

1 14 cups good quality pear juice

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons Lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon verbena, finely chopped

2 tablespoons pineapple sage, finely chopped

Add half melon, pear juice, lime and lemon juice in blender or food processor. Whirl until just blended. Put in bowl big enough to hold all of soup. Blend rest of melon, pear juice, lime and lemon juice in blender or food processor. Stir in herbs and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or longer

Serve in chilled bowls, garnished with thinly sliced strawberries.

From the kitchen of Jacqui’s Herb Naturally.

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