What’s summer without juicy slices of cold watermelon? Not only is this fruit filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it can be used a million different ways. Here’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know about watermelon plus five (sweet and savory) watermelon recipes.
Watermelon season runs from May through September, meaning there is plenty of time to load up on the fruit. Although there are over 200 varieties of watermelon, the most common types are seedless, picnic, icebox, and yellow or orange fleshed. Look for other unique heirloom watermelon varieties at local farmers markets throughout the summer months.
Selecting the Perfect Watermelon
Cracking open a mushy watermelon is just about as disappointing as cutting into a brown avocado. Even so, there are many ways to select a perfect watermelon (ranging from giving the fruit a good smack to sticking a fingernail into the rind) that it’s hard to know what really works.
A good rule of thumb with watermelon selection: choose the heaviest one for its size. The watermelon should be free from blemishes and cuts, dull not shiny, and have a creamy patch.
This cream spot, also referred to as the field spot, shows where the watermelon sat in the field. A deeply colored cream spot usually means the watermelon had long enough time to sit on the vine and sweeten, producing a juicier and sweeter melon.
Just one cup of watermelon provides roughly 20 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C and 18 percent vitamin A. Watermelon also contains B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, phytosterols, antioxidants, and fiber.
Like the name suggests, watermelon is made up of mostly (92 percent!) water, making it a super hydrating fruit. Consuming watermelon is an easy way to stay hydrated during hot summer months.
Watermelon’s main claim to health fame is its antioxidant activity. Watermelon contains numerous potent plant compounds including lycopene, which gives the fruit its vibrant red color.
Lycopene is a known free radical quencher and consuming fruits that contain the compound can help to lower oxidative stress and damage in the body. Oxidative stress can lead to chronic disease, so consuming fruits with lycopene is thought to be protective against diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
How to Eat Watermelon
Although fresh and cold is hands down the best way to enjoy this fruit, watermelon can be used in many other watermelon recipes, too.
From the Organic Authority Files
Watermelon is delicious blended into drinks and smoothies. Try making a watermelon smoothie or margarita next time you whip out your blender. Watermelon can even be juiced to make a refreshing summer sip. Add sprigs of mint leaves for the ultimate flavor contrast.
Watermelon can also be added to salads, grilled, or served alongside tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella on skewers. Need more watermelon inspiration? Find our five favorite watermelon recipes below.
6 Watermelon Recipes Worth Savoring
1. This watermelon and feta salad with cucumber and mint from Emily Monaco is a bit sweet, salty, and refreshing in every bite. Monaco suggests using fresh mint leaves for a bright taste, but swapping with fresh basil is equally as delicious. Bring this salad to all your summer barbeques or parties to seriously impress friends and family.
2. When it’s too hot to cook cool off with a chilled summer soup. This watermelon gazpacho from McKell Hill, dietitian and blogger of Nutrition Stripped, ticks all the cool and refreshing boxes. Instead of using tomatoes like a traditional gazpacho, Hill uses fresh watermelon alongside bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, and garlic. The soup gets a kick of spicy tang thanks to jalapenos and lime. The best part of this watermelon recipe? Throw all the ingredients into a blender and have a refreshing soup ready in less than five minutes.
3. Give grilled watermelon a try with this grilled spicy watermelon recipe from Barbara Feiner. A spicy sauce, made with lime, honey, garlic chili sauce, salt, and cilantro, makes this recipe more savory than sweet, but still totally mouthwatering. The watermelon is grilled until just browned, or about two minutes per side, making the flesh lightly caramelized. Serve alongside a burger and sweet potato fries for the ultimate summer picnic meal.
4. Turn fresh watermelon into a three-ingredient margarita with watermelon, tequila, and lime a la Dana Shultz of the Minimalist Baker blog. Simply blend up watermelon into juice, add a splash of lime, and a shot or two of tequila. Voila: instant, no-sugar added margaritas perfect for summer parties.
5. Two words: watermelon guacamole. Maria and Josh, of the food blog Two Peas and Their Pod, make watermelon and feta guacamole that’s perfect for summer get-togethers. The recipe calls for ripe avocados, red onion, jalapeno for spice, fresh squeezed lime juice, cubed watermelon, and a sprinkling of crumbled feta cheese on top for flavor and texture. The sweetness of watermelon, the tang of feta, and the creaminess of avocado all lead to the perfect summer dip.
6. These chocolate-dipped watermelon pops are a deliciously fresh upgrade on classic popsicles. Simply dip fresh watermelon into dark chocolate and sprinkle with all your favorite toppings like cacao nibs, coconut flakes, crushed nuts, and more. These pops are perfect for a summer party and are so healthy too!
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