Summertime is in full swing here in the south. Thoughts of summer evoke very distinct feelings and images--afternoon thunderstorms, balmy warm days, fireflies, barefeet, swimming pools, sunscreen, swatting mosquitos, corn on the cob, picnics, and watermelon. It is just not summertime without juicy sweet watermelon. When I was a kid we would try to hit the fence by spitting out the black seeds. My kids sprawl on the lawn and the red juice drips down their chins as they try to ward off the chickens who think watermelon is a delicacy.

The best way to ensure a delicious melon is to visit a local farmers market. When you know the first name of the grower you are assured a quality product:) Even then, it is good to know what you are looking for. A friend of mine recently filled me in on how to choose a perfect watermelon:

1) make sure there is a large creamy spot on the underside. This means that the watermelon has mellowed on the ground ripening. If there is not a spot, the watermelon was picked too early.

2) The next thing to look for is the hard brown web looking areas on the mellon. This develops during pollination when the bees scar the flower membranes that later form the fruit. More webbing shows a successful pollination and sweeter melon.

3) Finally, look for hard black gobs seeping out. This is sugar! Not insects or rotting. This is a good indicator of a sweet rich melon!

If you find you have leftover melon, you can cut it into cubes and freeze it for a few hours. Put it in the blender to whiz for a minute and add fresh lime juice from 1 lime. Garnish with a mint leaf and let the flavors of summer wash your cares away!