Of all the reasons to get excited about summer, watermelon is at the top of the list. Sweet, juicy, and crisp, it has a taste and texture unlike any other fruit—one that is totally unique and feels synonymous with long days, sunshine, and warm weather. At the same time, unique though it may be, it’s also wonderfully versatile, working well in savory applications, in refreshing drinks, or as dessert.
As if this summertime treat could get any better, watermelon is also healthy and budget-friendly. It’s cholesterol-, fat- and sodium-free; a great source of vitamins A, C, and B6 and high in antioxidants. At only 80 calories for every two-cup serving, it's a low-calorie nutrition powerhouse. It’s also 92% water, which makes it the ultimate fruit for hydration. As for your wallet, one serving is only 17 cents and one watermelon can feed up to three dozen people, which makes it the most budget-friendly fruit out there.
Most people may not realize it, but you can also use the whole watermelon. Yep, it’s 100% edible. The rind is terrific pickled or grated into a slaw. It not only tastes great but feels great not throwing any part away.
If you’re left with any doubts as to the merits of this fruit, the recipes below will convince you of watermelon’s singular greatness.
Watermelon, Feta, and Mint Salad
We don’t know when this salad became a classic, but a classic it sure is. Briny, salty feta works so well with sweet watermelon, and fresh, herbal mint adds a dynamic layer that makes this dish feel sophisticated enough for a restaurant but just right for your backyard, too.
Fresh Watermelon Margaritas
If these don’t sound good to you, read the recipe name again. Fresh. Watermelon. Margaritas. A dash of salt really heightens the watermelon flavor and brings this boozy but refreshing cocktail home.
Spicy Grilled Watermelon
Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it. If you’re looking for a way to, er, spice up your watermelon routine, try brushing watermelon with honey and lime juice, dusting it with cayenne pepper, and then throwing it on the grill.
Watermelon and Cucumber Juice
This bright beverage is just as enjoyable to sip by the pool as it is after a workout. It'll keep you nice and hydrated, while quenching your need for something light and refreshing. A bounty of fresh mint and a squeeze of lime juice will make it extra balanced—a mocktail you can be proud to serve to a crowd (or drink all by yourself).
Watermelon Rind Slaw
For another interesting approach, the Watermelon Board is telling you to hang onto the rind! Remove the red fruit and green skin, then simply grate the rind. Mix it with grated carrot, fresh diced pineapple, and a creamy dressing, and you’ll have a new favorite summer side dish.
Finally, try watermelon sorbet, which we love with a few cocoa nibs, which look like seeds but offer a roasted flavor and pleasing crunch. If you don’t have cacao nibs, however, this recipe tastes great without them, too.