The Salted Watermelon


My father would sit on the couch, watching football, an apple in one hand and the salt-shaker in the other. A bite of apple, a little salt, a bite of apple, another shake. I like salt on apples well enough, though I haven’t tried it in many years. But think about candy apples– which have caramel (trendily salty these days) and are sometimes rolled in salted nuts.

Though it’s been a long time since it was fashionable, it is still delicious to eat prosciutto with cantaloupe.  The salty, slightly sour tang of the raw ham perfectly counterbalances the super-sweetness of a ripe melon.

Given that watermelon is one of the three foods that I’ve added to my roster in great frequency in the last three months (yogurt with granola and hard-boiled eggs are the other two), is it any surprise that the day would come when I would mull “Hmm, salt?”

If you google “salted watermelon” you will find that Pepsi has recently introduced a “salty watermelon Pepsi” to Japan (those crazy kids!) , and you will find that people are deeply divided on the topic of salting watermelon.  Some southerners claim they’ve always eaten salt on watermelon. Maybe so. My family has been in South Carolina for two hundred and fifty years and I do not recall them salting the watermelon. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, it just means I don’t remember. Maybe my mother can help there.

But, getting down to the nitty-gritty — salt on watermelon is sublime.

Some foodies write long treatises about why salting watermelon is so delicious and many of them agree on the absolutely ridiculous notion that it “somehow concentrates the sweetness.”  This is the problem in blogging– any fool with a computer is suddenly an expert, myself included.  The reason that salted watermelon is fantastic, a deliciousness that’s nearly sexual, has nothing to do with concentrating anything. It is simply because our palates love the play between sweet and salty.

What is a chocolate chip cookie that does not have salt? Hardly worth eating. Remember the popularity of chocolate-covered pretzels? And of course, the ultimate sweet these days– Fleur de sel caramels. The salt makes the sweet sweeter by contrast. And on a watermelon, the salt gives a complexity, a richness that the melon alone fails to deliver.  With watermelons on sale all over now at the end of August and the wide availability of beautiful gourmet salts (though in truth, Morton’s is dandy) it would seem a shame not to at least try it, wouldn’t it?

I want to know what you think.

Today’s target 75 :-/   Steps (I was so tired) 1072

Breakfast: two scrambled eggs, yogurt with granola, two cups of watermelon. Lunch: one slice of pizza, two hard-boiled eggs, one ounce of brie. Smore. Afternoon snack: serving of veggie straws (not really worth eating) Dinner: two cups of watermelon with salt! 


5 thoughts on “The Salted Watermelon

  1. The only place I’ve ever eaten watermelon is here in Ohio, and I’ve always put salt on it. My grandfather taught my sister and me to do that.

    He also got us to enjoy tomatoes fresh from the garden, sliced with some salt on them. He grew yellow tomatoes and red tomatoes, and I always preferred the yellow ones, although my grandmother always swore they tasted the same as red.

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