There’s no time like a hot summer picnic to let your patriotic spirit show. These all-American snacks featuring a classic favorite fruit – watermelon – are the perfect solution for nearly any summertime celebration, including Memorial Day and Independence Day. And, of course, on these important observance days and always, AmeriDisability salutes our military, including veterans with disabilities.
Watermelon is a patriotic picnic staple for countless reasons, not the least of which is that it’s a beloved treat that many people associate with memories from childhood. However, nostalgia isn’t the only reason adults are just as likely to gravitate toward watermelon at a summer event. Its sweet, cool and refreshing flavor also makes it a favorite for all ages.
Food for Thought
From a practical standpoint, watermelon is also quite portable, versatile and easy to serve, and with a composition of 92% water, it’s a simple way to sneak in some extra hydration on a hot day. Another benefit is its value; watermelon is one of the best values in the produce section among fruit, and just one watermelon can feed up to three dozen people.
Watermelon is packed with nutrients, including antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, lycopene and vitamins A and C. Because of this, consumption of watermelon may help the body fight free radicals and, therefore, aid prevention of diabetes, heart disease, inflammation, asthma, cancer and age-related macular degeneration.
Choline, a type of antioxidant found in watermelon, may positively support the brain and nervous system. Research suggests that choline may help slow the progression of dementia. Plus, watermelon is also a rich source of citrulline, an amino acid that may improve exercise performance.
Serving watermelon at a party can be as simple as slicing wedges, or you can prepare a dish such as:
* A fruit basket, with the rind serving as a colorful bowl to hold the watermelon and other fresh fruits.
* A charcuterie board with a selection of fruit, cheese and protein for simple snacking.
* Creamy parfaits, perfect for a summery brunch or alternative to more traditional desserts.
* A creatively colorful and patriotic “cake” that makes for a tasty centerpiece on the dessert table.
Find more ideas for incorporating watermelon into your summer festivities at watermelon.org.
Patriotic Picnic Recipes
Easy Summer Thirst Quencher
A simple fruit-infused water can give your summer event an instant upgrade in no time at all. Add extra dimension and complexity to the flavor by adding some of your favorite herbs like basil and mint.
- 2 cups watermelon balls or cubes
- 1 cup other fruit, such as berries and herbs, such as basil or mint
- Directions: Place watermelon, fruit and herbs in a pitcher and cover with water. For best flavor, allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Red, White and Blue Watermelon Parfait
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 container (6 ounces) Greek yogurt (vanilla, lemon or coconut)
- 1 cup watermelon, plus three pieces of diced watermelon
- whipped cream, for serving
- Directions: In a pint canning jar, layer blueberries, yogurt and 1 cup of watermelon. Top with whipped cream and garnish with three diced watermelon pieces. Note: To make ahead or make thicker, drain Greek yogurt on paper towels to absorb some liquid.
Patriotic Fruit Salad
- 1 watermelon
- Directions: Slice 1/4 inch off the bottom of watermelon, lengthwise, to create a stable base. Use a pencil to draw zig-zag lines for basket opening. Using a paring knife, make cuts through the rind. Carefully remove the top section, pull out large chunks of flesh and cut them into 3-by-3-inch squares. Trim 3/4-inch thick slices off squares to use for cutting out stars with 1 1/2-3-inch, star-shaped cookie cutters. Use ice cream scoop to remove flesh from inside basket and cut scoops into quarters for fruit salad. Place in bottom of basket. Add honeydew and blueberries; stir to combine. Cut out white stripes from honeydew. Garnish top of fruit salad with watermelon stars, honeydew stripes and blueberries.
Flag Kebab Cake
- 1 pint fresh, washed blackberries
- 12 wooden skewers
- 1 seedless watermelon, flesh cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes (white part only)
- dips, such as yogurt, chocolate, caramel or marshmallow (optional)
- Directions: Thread five blackberries on each of five skewers, followed by alternating watermelon and cake cubes. On the remaining skewers, alternate watermelon and cake so the first and last cubes are watermelon. Place skewers on platter; fruit and cake will create stars and stripes when lined properly. Serve with dips, if desired.
Patriotic Charcuterie Board
- 1/2 medium seedless watermelon, cut into wedges
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
- 10 strawberries (dipped in white chocolate, if desired)
- 5 ounces fresh goat cheese
- 1/2 cup toasted, salted cashews
- 2 ounces cured meats like prosciutto, pancetta, coppa, salami, soppressata, sausage or pepperoni
- 1 Honeycrisp apple, cored and sliced
- lemon juice
- fresh basil leaves
- Directions: On large board or platter, arrange watermelon, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cheese, cashews, meat and apples. Drizzle fruit with lemon juice. Garnish with basil leaves before serving.