Many people enjoy eating watermelon, especially in the summertime when it is in season. Watermelon is sweet, refreshing, and hydrating. Cheese is another popular food that comes in many varieties and can be quite tasty. Some people may wonder if it is okay or advisable to eat watermelon and cheese together. There are a few things to consider when combining these two foods.
First, let’s examine the nutrition content of watermelon and cheese separately:
|Nutrient||Amount in 1 cup diced watermelon|
|Vitamin A||569 IU|
|Vitamin C||12.7 mg|
As you can see, watermelon is low in calories, fat, and sodium. It provides vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. Watermelon is high in water content, providing good hydration.
The nutrition content of cheese can vary depending on the type. Here is an overview of cheddar cheese nutrition:
|Nutrient||Amount in 1 oz cheddar cheese|
|Saturated Fat||5.7 g|
Cheese is high in fat, including saturated fat. It provides protein, calcium, and sodium. Different cheese varieties will have slightly different nutritional profiles.
Looking at the nutrition information, we can see that watermelon and cheese each provide some beneficial nutrients. However, their profiles are quite different. Watermelon is low calorie and hydrating, while cheese is high in fat and sodium.
Now let’s consider the taste and texture combination of eating watermelon and cheese together. Watermelon has a sweet, juicy, refreshing taste and texture. The watermelon flesh is crisp and watery. Cheese has a savory, salty, creamy, rich taste and smooth texture.
When eating watermelon and cheese together, the sweetness of the watermelon contrasts with the saltiness of the cheese. The juiciness of the watermelon offsets the creamy smoothness of the cheese. These opposing flavors and textures can complement each other well in some cases.
However, some people may find the combination to be too stark in contrast or find that the cheese overpowers the more subtle taste of the watermelon. The mixing of the watery watermelon juice with the creamy cheese texture can also be unappealing to some.
There are a few ways you could potentially combine watermelon and cheese:
– Eat watermelon slices and pair with cheese slices or cubes on the side
– Make watermelon, feta, and mint salad
– Add watermelon cubes to a cheese and cracker platter
– Use watermelon to top bruschetta with cheese
– Make a Caprese salad with watermelon substituted for tomatoes
The most complementary pairings would be watermelon with a lighter, fresher cheese like mozzarella, feta, goat cheese, ricotta, or burrata. Aged, hard cheeses like parmesan or cheddar tend to overpower the watermelon.
Eating watermelon and cheese together could potentially have some health benefits:
– Watermelon provides hydration, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
– Cheese provides protein, calcium, probiotics, and healthy fats (in moderation)
– The combination provides a balance of nutrients and different macronutrients (carbs from watermelon, protein from cheese)
– Watermelon’s citrulline may boost nitric oxide levels and blood flow while cheese provides sustained energy
However, to gain these benefits without any downsides, proper portion sizes of each food are key. The optimal ratio would be mostly watermelon with a small amount of cheese. Too much cheese, and you lose the hydration benefit of the watermelon.
There are also some potential downsides of eating watermelon and cheese together that need to be considered:
– The high saturated fat content of cheese can negatively impact heart health, especially if consuming too much cheese.
– Cheese is high in sodium, so pairing it with watermelon could potentially increase bloating or water retention.
– Dairy does not always digest well with fruits. Some people may experience stomach upset, gas, or diarrhea.
– The high sugar content of watermelon combined with the high fat content of cheese could lead to energy level fluctuations.
– Watermelon’s hydrating quality could be lost if too much cheese is consumed and slows digestion.
To minimize these downsides, watch your portion sizes when eating watermelon and cheese and see how your body responds. Limit high-fat, high-sodium cheeses and focus more on the watermelon. Drink plenty of water as well.
Food Safety Considerations
There are some food safety factors to consider when combining watermelon and cheese:
– Cut watermelon should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cutting to prevent growth of bacteria. Leftovers should be discarded after 3 days.
– Soft cheeses like mozzarella or ricotta have higher risk of contamination with listeriosis or salmonella. Use caution with pregnant women, children, older adults, or those with weak immune systems.
– When serving cheese and watermelon on a platter, keep the items separated until serving to avoid cross-contamination.
– Cheese can promote growth of bacteria when sitting out at room temperature. Don’t leave cheese platters out for more than 2 hours.
– Wash all produce thoroughly before eating.
– Cheese and fruit pairings support growth of yeasts and molds after 24-48 hours of refrigeration. Only prepare what you plan to consume.
As long as you follow general food safety guidelines, like refrigerating cut watermelon and cheese properly, washing produce, and not leaving items out at room temperature too long, you can safely enjoy eating watermelon and cheese together without concern. Those with compromised immune systems may want to avoid soft cheeses though.
The combination of fruit and cheese is enjoyed in many cultures around the world. However, watermelon specifically paired with cheese is less common globally.
In European culture, grapes and figs are more traditional pairings with cheese plates. In the Middle East, dates, honey, and dried fruits are often served alongside cheese. Cheese and fruit pairings are not very prevalent in Asian cuisine.
In the United States, watermelon and feta salad has emerged as a popular summer dish. Watermelon is sometimes served on cheese boards as well, though more typical fruits like grapes and berries may be more common.
So while certainly not a traditional or ubiquitous pairing, cheese and watermelon can work nicely together for the American palate. Those from other culinary backgrounds may or may not find the combination as appealing based on what flavor profiles they are accustomed to.
If you want to enjoy the cheese and fruit combination but find that watermelon does not pair well, consider these alternative fruits:
– Grapes – the classic pairing, providing sweetness to contrast the cheese
– Dried fruits like figs, apricots, dates, cranberries – the drying process concentrates the fruit sugars
– Berries like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries – their sweet-tart quality works with many cheeses
– Pears or apples – often paired with stronger cheeses like gorgonzola
– Citrus like orange segments or dried citrus peels – the citric acid cuts the fat
For those who want to avoid dairy, you can swap out the cheese for these non-dairy options:
– Nuts or seeds – provides protein, healthy fats, and crunch
– Hummus – creamy texture pairs nicely with watermelon
– Tahini – sesame seed butter has nutty flavor
– Olive tapenade – provides fruitiness and umami savoriness
– Nut cheeses – can replicate the creaminess of dairy cheese
So feel free to get creative with substitutions if watermelon and cheese don’t seem like an appealing combination to you!
While not a universally common pairing, eating watermelon and cheese together can be an enjoyable way to liven up your snack time. The contrast of sweet fruit and salty, savory cheese can provide flavor interest. Combining the hydration and nutrients of watermelon with the protein and healthy fats of cheese can also offer a balanced snack. However, be mindful of your portions and any possible digestive issues when mixing melon and dairy. For those avoiding dairy, non-dairy substitutes like nuts and seeds can also pair well with watermelon. Overall, feel free to give this unique fruit and cheese combo a try to wake up your taste buds!