Every year, watermelons seem to take over the entire summer season. They are placed front and center at your favorite grocery store, stacked in abundance at your local farmer’s market, or maybe even overflowing from your backyard! Watermelons are not too difficult to grow at home, and many home gardeners enjoy experimenting with the four main types of watermelon and their unconventional cultivars. Whether you’re growing melons at home or just couldn’t find one smaller than 20 lbs, you’re likely to have tons of watermelon leftovers throughout the summer. Consider mixing it up with these unique and delicious ways to use watermelons!
Did you know you can grill watermelon alongside your barbecue? Before you protest that watermelon is meant to be sweet, consider how savory flavors can actually amplify and complexify sweetness – just like adding a dash of sea salt to your chocolate chip cookies!
To make grilled watermelon, slice up the melon into meaty quarter slices. You can pop it straight on the grill with just a bit of salt and pepper, or fancy it up a notch with a homemade marinade. Watermelon pairs well with marinades of olive oil, honey, citrus juice, and a zing of spice, like chili or cayenne. Let the grill work its magic for about five minutes, then remove from the heat to reveal perfect sear marks and a caramelized exterior.
Almost every other type of fruit can be used to make summery adult beverages, so why not watermelon, too? Watermelon is a refreshing addition to a margarita, mojito, or daiquiri. First, blend the watermelon flesh until it reaches the desired consistency. Then, mix it in your favorite cocktail with vodka, rum, tequila, mezcal or gin. Blended watermelon juice is also delicious on its own as a non-alcoholic option. This unique use for watermelon is a perfect party favor for summertime celebrations like birthdays, cookouts, Independence Day, or Memorial Day.
Since watermelon is over 90% water, it’s easy to freeze. Don’t waste your extras when you can make homemade watermelon sorbet, gelato, ice cream or popsicles. Plus, it pairs well with strawberries, mangos, pineapples, basil and coconut milk. Experiment using different combinations of ingredients to find out what you like best!
Although watermelon is a fruit, you can purée it and use the mash just like a vegetable. Puréed watermelon is most commonly used in gazpacho, a delicious and restorative Spanish soup traditionally served cold on a hot summer’s day. However, it also makes an unusual addition to marinades, sauces and salsas. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
Smoothies have become extremely popular these days because they can be quick and easy to make for breakfast, full of nutritious fruits and vegetables, and effective for weight loss. There are hundreds of ways to make a smoothie, too, as long as you’re open to incorporating a variety of fruits and veggies. Watermelon makes an excellent addition to your smoothie rotation. Not only does it taste divine, but it also creates a substantial base of water to balance the drier ingredients, like oatmeal, peanut butter, nuts or seeds. Try a watermelon smoothie with greek yogurt, honey, strawberries, bananas, and a touch of fresh basil.
Everyone can agree that watermelon is one of the quintessential flavors of summertime. The vibrant red flesh of a freshly cut melon is sweet, hydrating, and full of nutritious electrolytes. Most notably, they are surprisingly versatile in cooking, from grilling to processing to boozing it up. You’re missing out on a wealth of its potential if all you do is slice and chomp!