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5 Summertime Watermelon Recipes

By Edited May 28, 2014 4 4
Salad | Watermelon Mint Margaritas
Credit: Left photo: NatalieMaynor on flickr | Right photo: Didriks on flickr / Both are Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

How to use up a

big juicy watermelon

You see watermelons on sale in the summer and think to yourself, "Should I buy one? Or will I just end up tossing half of it out." 

Will it taste kind of crappy? And how can I be sure I choose a good one?

You are not alone. For about 20 years I've been wondering the same thing. And even though I've had no complaints about my melons, I yearned to know more about these impressive cucurbitales.[1]

Types of Watermelon

Their flesh can be red, yellow, white, or orange

Golden Melon
Credit: Both photos: Jo (jshontz on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Most of us have had the red fleshy type of watermelon, and the yellow variety looks the same from the outside. (It tastes the same too, I think). Some sources say it tastes sweeter[2][3] but it depends on where it's grown and when it's picked. The same holds true for anything that contains a great deal of water, really.

I have never seen or tasted watermelons with an orange flesh. However, white flesh watermelons are available (first brought to Canada by Russian immigrants). Named the Cream of Saskatchewan,[1] it has sweet white flesh, black seeds, and thin, light and dark green striped rind. (It still looks the same outside, but a lighter green).

How to choose a good one

Forget tapping it. The key appears to be the ground spot - which should look buttery yellow (not whitish or greenish). You also want to ensure there are no bruises, soft spots, or breaks in the skin. It should feel heavy - if I'm torn between two that look good, I always pick the heavier one. Watermelons are over 90% water. I figure the mealy ones probably contain less water.

Storing Watermelon

According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, watermelons should be stored at about 55 degrees F (13 C). So not in the fridge when first brought home. In fact, whole melons will keep 7 - 10 days at room temperature.[9]

Once cut, however, watermelon should be wrapped and/or stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. It should be used up within 3 - 4 days.[9] Freezing watermelons (with the rind) produces a mealy, unpleasant texture.

Up next is a 1 minute video explaining the best way to pick out a watermelon:

Picking Out a Good Watermelon

My watermelon, arugula, avocado & mango salad

My watermelon, arugula, avocado & mango salad
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Now that you've picked a good one

Here are my five favorite ways to enjoy watermelon

My intro photo (credited to Natalie Maynor) inspired me to make the same lovely watermelon salad. I also found a recipe which included the same ingredients by Bobbi Bowers on Fresh & Foodie[4] and decided to create a similar version.

If my watermelon doesn't taste very sweet, I add mango; if I have a sweet watermelon, I add cucumber instead.

Rose's Watermelon, Arugula & Avocado Salad

Serves: 3 | Prep: 15 mins | Total: 20 mins

Ingredients:

Half a 5 oz. bag (2.5 oz.) arugula
2 - 3 cups watermelon (cubed and without seeds preferably)
1 avocado (cubed)
Optional: 1/2 mango (cubed) OR 1/2 cucumber (sliced)

Vinaigrette:

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (good quality)
juice from a small lemon OR a lime
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
 
Directions:
 
Wash and drain arugula and remove any leaves that are spotted, yellowing, or limp. Set aside in a colander to dry.
 
Wash the outside of your watermelon and avocado. Cut both into similar-sized cubes (see videos next, if need be). Keep avocado cubes in a separate bowl. If adding, do the same for your mango and/or cucumber. (I use 1/2 moon-shaped slices of cucumber). The mango and/or cucumber can go into a large bowl along with the watermelon.
 
In a medium bowl, whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients. A tip from Bobbi Bowers: add the avocado cubes to the vinaigrette and toss very gently - this prevents browning.
 
In the large bowl, combine arugula (dab dry if need be) to the watermelon, mango and/or cucumber. Pour desired amount of vinaigrette dressing (including all avocado cubes) over salad and carefully toss to combine everything.

How to Cube Watermelon (30 secs):

How to Pit and Dice Avocado (58 secs):

Watermelon Punch

Now that's a girlie drink
Credit: ajburstein on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Rose's Refreshing Watermelon Punch

Makes: 4.5 cups | Prep: 15 mins | Total: 1 hour

This recipe was adapted from one I found in the New York Times[5] called Watermelon Punch. 

Ingredients:

2.5 cups watermelon chunks (without seeds)
1/3 cup lemon juice (2 medium lemons = just over 1/3 cup juice)
2 tbsp. lime juice (1 lime = 2 tbsp. juice)
1/4 cup pure icing sugar (aka superfine sugar)
2.5 cups Seltzer (chilled)
ice
Optional garnish: lime wedges or lemon wheels
 
Directions:
 
In a blender, puree watermelon chunks until smooth. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium-large bowl and pour pureed watermelon into it. Push it through the sieve until you have about 1-1/4 cups of juice. (Compost the pulp left behind in the sieve).
 
In a pitcher, combine lemon and lime juice. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Pour in watermelon juice, mix thoroughly, and refrigerate. Just before serving, add Seltzer (keeps it more bubbly that way) and serve over ice. Garnish glasses with lime wedges or lemon wheels.

Watermelon Balls with Mint Sauce

Minted Watermelon
Credit: Janet Hudson on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Rose's Watermelon with Mint Sauce

Serves: 6 | Prep: 15 mins | Total: 20 mins

This next recipe was inspired by one from ABC News[6] called Chilled Watermelon Slices With Lime Juice, Honey and Mint and one by Antoinette DuBeck in Taste of Home[7] magazine called Mint Watermelon Salad Recipe.

Instead of honey or sugar, I used Grade A Light Amber Canadian maple syrup and tweaked a few things (I'm too lazy to zest a lime). The main thing: use high quality extra-virgin olive oil and the freshest mint you can find.

Ingredients:

5 - 6 cups cubed or balled watermelon
1 tbsp. lemon or lime juice
1 tbsp. high quality extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. Grade A Light Amber maple syrup
2 tbsp. fresh mint (minced)
Optional garnish: sprigs of mint
 
Directions:
 
Prep watermelon, making cubes or balls and place in a large bowl. I often use up a whole watermelon making this recipe. Wash and mince fresh mint (finely chopped works too) and gently toss with watermelon.
 
In a small bowl, whisk lemon or lime juice, olive oil, and maple syrup together. Drizzle over watermelon and mint in large bowl and toss to coat well. Serve with sprigs of mint, if desired.

OXO Good Grips Melon Baller

OXO Good Grips Melon Baller RoseWrites 2014-05-22 4.5 0 5
4.5/5

OXO Good Grips Melon Baller

OXO Good Grips Melon Baller
Amazon Price: $8.99 $6.20 Buy Now
(price as of May 28, 2014)
I used to have a melon baller with a wooden handle - it worked well, but I had to wash it by hand. The OXO Good Grips line has always impressed me. Their melon baller has two sizes of scoops. Since you'll need to make repeated twisting motions, an ergonomic handle makes all the difference. The price is reasonable and it's dishwasher-safe.

Everyone loves to see a plate of these

Use your cookie cutters on slices of watermelon

Hearts
Credit: Denise Carrasco (duh.denise on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

RSVP Endurance HBC Heart Shape Cutters

RSVP Endurance HBC-4 Heart Shape Biscuit Cutters, Set of 4 RoseWrites 2014-05-22 5.0 0 5
5/5

Heart Shape Biscuit Cutters (set of 4)

RSVP Endurance HBC-4 Heart Shape Biscuit Cutters, Set of 4
Amazon Price: $12.95 Buy Now
(price as of May 28, 2014)
If you want to avoid getting your hands sticky, you might wish to consider this style of cookie cutter for your watermelon. The set includes 4 sizes of hearts ranging from 1-1/2" to 3-1/8" in diameter, each with a smooth arched handle. What I like is these are made of stainless steel and can cut slices (or biscuits) up to 1-inch thick. They also tuck neatly away inside the largest heart (aka nesting).

For the Adults

Watermelon Mint Margaritas
Credit: Didriks on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Frozen Watermelon Margaritas

Makes: 6 | Prep: 15 mins | Total: 4-1/4 hrs

I found this recipe by James Chatto on LCBO's Food & Drink[8] website. What I like is I can freeze chunks of watermelon ahead of time and whip these drinks up on the fly. The original recipe yielded two cocktails, but I tweaked it to make six and rimmed my glasses with kosher salt.

Ingredients:

4.5 cups frozen chunks of watermelon
6 oz. (3/4 cup) tequila - preferably Patron Silver tequila
1.5 oz. triple sec
6 tbsp. (just over 1/3 cup) lime juice (6 limes = 6 tbsp. juice)
2 tbsp. sugar
kosher salt to rim glasses
Optional garnishes: wedges of watermelon, mint sprigs, or lime wheels
 
Directions:
 
Chop watermelon flesh into 1-inch cubes, remove as many seeds as possible, and freeze (along with any juice or pulp left on the cutting board) for at least 4 hours.
  
In a blender, add broken up frozen chunks of watermelon (in batches) and pulse to create a slushy mixture. Add tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and sugar. Blend well.
 
Run a wedge of lime around glass rims (or just use water) and invert each on a small plate of kosher salt to coat. Add one ice cube to each glass and pour the margarita mixture from your blender. Garnish as desired.

Schott Zwiesel Pure Whiskey Glasses

Schott Zwiesel Tritan Crystal Glass Pure Collection, Set of 6 RoseWrites 2014-05-22 5.0 0 5
5/5

Schott Zwiesel Pure Whiskey Glasses

Schott Zwiesel Tritan Crystal Glass Pure Barware Collection Whiskey, 13.2-Ounce, Set of 6
Amazon Price: $81.00 $49.99 Buy Now
(price as of May 28, 2014)
Made in Germany, these patented tritan crystal glasses contain no lead. They are made of titanium and zirconium oxide which resists chipping, breaking, or scratching. What's more, they are dishwasher-safe and stand up to daily use without etching or clouding. When I viewed the video by Marianne Frantz, founder of the American Wine School (shown next), I decided to purchase a set of six whiskey glasses.

Schott Zwiesel Tritan

The World's Best Crystal Glass

For those of you more talented than I

Jordan's Birthday Watermelon Shark
Credit: Arnold Gatilao (arnold | inuyaki on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
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Comments

May 27, 2014 10:08am
Ruby3881
The drinks look awesome, Rose! I always love looking at the neat food art people do with melons. I envy folks who are really good at this - I certainly am not! Sharing and rating up :)
May 27, 2014 9:34pm
RoseWrites
Gee thanks, and yeah I'm fascinated by artists who make these sculpted food creations (sometimes they look too good to eat). Tonight I enjoyed my watermelon salad (and took a photo of it, this time). Thanks so much for dropping by, sharing, and the thumb. Take good care, Rose
Jun 20, 2014 9:25pm
shar-On
What a great article so full of good ideas, love the watermelon hearts, I often dice up watermelon and add mint and onion mixed together for a salad.
Jun 21, 2014 9:41am
RoseWrites
Yeah, it's amazing how versatile watermelon is - mint and onion would be lovely. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and comment. Sincerely, Rose
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Bibliography

  1. "Watermelon." Wikipedia. 21/05/2014 <Web >
  2. "Yellow Watermelon." Specialty Produce. 21/05/2014 <Web >
  3. "What Is a Yellow Watermelon?." wiseGEEK. 21/05/2014 <Web >
  4. Bobbi Bowers "Arugula, Watermelon and Avocado Salad with Spicy Lime Vinaigrette." Fresh and Foodie. 02/06/2011. 21/05/2014 <Web >
  5. "Watermelon Punch." The New York Times. 06/08/2009. 22/05/2014 <Web >
  6. Kitchen of Katie Brown "Chilled Watermelon Slices With Lime Juice, Honey and Mint." ABC News. 22/05/2014 <Web >
  7. Antoinette DuBeck "Mint Watermelon Salad Recipe." Taste of Home. 22/05/2014 <Web >
  8. James Chatto "Frozen Watermelon Margarita." LCBO Food & Drink. 22/05/2014 <Web >
  9. "Watermelon Basics." National Watermelon Promotion Board. 22/05/2014 <Web >

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