A mouthwatering watermelon is the quintessential summer food. Its juicy flesh is over 90% water and rich in electrolytes, offering a sweet reason to stay hydrated in the heat. Watermelon is one of richest sources of lycopene, the antioxidant that gives the melon its deep pink pigment. Lycopene has been shown to slow the growth of several types of cancer cells, and is especially effective at reducing the risk of prostate cancer in men and cervical cancer in women.
To pick the best watermelon, find one that is heavy for its size and has a dark yellow cream-colored spot where it sat on the ground to ripen. A white spot indicates that it’s underripe. Rinse or wipe the melon before cutting into the rind and store in the refrigerator once cut.
One 20-pound watermelon can feed a crowd, but if you don’t have plans to share, enjoy its freshness sliced, cubed, pureed, juiced, frozen, or by trying one of these easy breezy recipes:
Sweet + Savory Watermelon Salad
1 cup spinach
1 cup kale
1/2 cup watermelon, cut into cubes
1/2 cup blueberries
1 Tablespoon pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, or sesame seeds
Fresh mint leaves, chopped
Drizzle with olive oil
Chop greens to form the salad base. Layer with all remaining ingredients and drizzle with olive oil on top. Enjoy immediately!
To get the most health benefit from watermelon, skip the pre-cut melon at the market. Many nutrients, especially Vitamin C, begin to diminish immediately after cutting.
Two Ingredient Watermelon Sorbet
4 cups cubed watermelon, frozen
1 ripe banana, sliced
Freeze 1” cubes of watermelon for at least 2 hours. In a food processor, pulse frozen cubes of watermelon and banana slices. Puree until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Serve immediately or freeze longer for a firmer set sorbet.
Refreshing Watermelon Spritzer
1 cup fresh watermelon
1 12oz can club soda, seltzer, or carbonated sparkling water, any flavor
Blend watermelon in a food processor or high-speed blender until juice consistency is achieved. Divide watermelon juice between two glasses, and pour chilled carbonated water over top of the juice. Add ice cubes if desired and enjoy immediately. Makes two, 8-ounce servings.
Hint: Turn it into a spiked summertime spritzer by adding a splash of your favorite hard alcohol or wine!
Celebration Fruit Pizza
1 cup Greek yogurt, any flavor
1 kiwi, sliced
½ cup berries
½ cup cantaloupe, mango, or papaya
Additional toppings as desired: coconut flakes, slivered almonds, or a drizzle of melted dark chocolate.
Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut a 1” thick round slice though the center of a large watermelon. Spread a thin layer of yogurt around the center of the melon. Top with an assortment of your favorite colorful fruits. Choose 1-2 fruits that can be thinly cut and shaped using cookie cutters. Spread thin slivers of fresh mint leaves and sprinkle any additional desired toppings for a colorful and festive dessert! Makes 8 servings.
Hint: Mint and watermelon are a match made in culinary heaven. The coolness of fresh mint or spearmint combined with the sweetness of watermelon is a delightful, refreshing combination!