Fragrant Melon Fruit Salad

      February is prime time for melons and watermelons especially are synonymous with picnics, pools and summer fun.

One of the best things about watermelon is the difficulty to remain dignified whilst enjoying it! It truly must be eaten at its best by biting into a large wedge and allowing the sweet juice to run down your chin.

As watermelon is made up of around 90% water it makes a wonderfully refreshing thirst quencher and a safe alternative when travelling in countries where the water supply may be dubious.

The nutritional value of melons varies depending on the variety but essentially they contain Vitamin C, fibre and potassium.

Selecting whole watermelons to purchase can be a gamble, look for fruit that feel heavy for their size and sound slightly hollow when tapped. Rock melons and honey dew melons should also feel heavy for their size and have a ripe aroma.

If you do end up with a floury water melon, simply remove the seeds and blend it with ice for a refreshing drink. Watermelon ice blocks are a lovely summer treat. Chop watermelon flesh into wedges and discard pips, insert ice block sticks and then freeze on a tray. Cover chopped melon with plastic cling film and refrigerate, ensuring that rock melon is well wrapped as its fragrance can taint other foods.

This fragrant fruit salad is a healthy dessert but also full of flavour. You may want to serve it with coconut ice cream.

Fragrant Melon Fruit Salad

You can also add blueberries, chopped mango or papaya or honey dew melon to this delicious and easy dessert.

1/2 cup sugar
1 star anise
2 cm piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into thin sticks
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
1 vanilla pod, split down the centre
1/2 medium water melon
1 rockmelon
4 mint leaves, roughly torn

Place the sugar, star anise, ginger, lime juice and vanilla in a small saucepan and heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Using a melon baler scoop the melon into balls and place in a large bowl. Alternatively chop the melon into chunks. Strain the syrup although you may like to leave the star anise in, pour over the melon and scatter with mint leaves.

Serves 6-8.

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These recipes have not been tested by MediaWorks NZ or Chelsea Sugar.

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