Temperatures are heating up and the days are getting longer. Hours spent at the beach or backyard barbeques all point to summer, but for me, watermelons are a sure sign summer has arrived. This large gourd of a fruit, which some say moonlights as a vegetable, might be mostly water, but that doesn’t mean it lacks nutritional value. This red, juicy fruit is more than a sweet side dish or source for seed spitting contests at summer picnics. It’s a great hydrator and full of heart healthy vitamins, too.
The nutrient profile of watermelon shows you’ll get vitamins A and C, potassium and magnesium, but the biggest boost comes from lycopene. Lycopene is part of the beta-carotene family, which not only gives watermelon its beautiful red color; it also works as an anti-inflammatory in our bodies, helping to keep our immune system strong. Did you know that watermelons actually have more lycopene than a tomato? Amazing!
Need a little help choosing your melon? The best tasting watermelons are those that are in season, which is summer and early fall. Look for one that has a smooth rind with a creamy yellow spot where it sat on the ground to ripen. A white spot means it hasn’t fully ripened. Store in a cool place and once cut, keep in the refrigerator for up to four days.
A big, red, juicy wedge of chilled watermelon is always delicious, but if you want to branch out and see what other personalities this fruit has, try one of these recipes:
Place cut wedges of watermelon on popsicle sticks and top with fresh squeezed lime, a drizzle of honey and a pinch of sea salt – eat right away.
Watermelon Salad by Tammie Duggar
Salad isn’t just for lettuce. Try this delicious mix of watermelon cubes and tomatoes drizzled with a sweet balsamic dressing.
Watermelon-Infused Water by Tammie Duggar
We all know that we need to stay hydrated, especially during the summer months. Make some refreshing watermelon-infused water to sip on throughout the day.
Want to eat cake, but it’s too hot to turn on the oven? Try this epic watermelon cake, topped with dairy-free coconut whipped cream. Yum.
Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho
Gazpacho isn’t just for tomatoes. This sweet and spicy blend is a pleasant alternative to traditional gazpacho.
Sorbet is so refreshing and this three-ingredient watermelon sorbet couldn’t be easier to make, though I recommend using coconut sugar, raw honey, maple syrup or coconut syrup instead of white sugar.
Cocktails are a lot more fun when watermelons are on the scene. If you want to make this mojito of the virgin variety, try using kombucha instead of rum!
Watermelon Mint Lemonade
A refreshing summer beverage for when you’re hanging out on a lazy Saturday afternoon.
Grilled Watermelon + Avocado Salad
I’m all about grilling this summer and I’m thrilled to have another thing to throw on the BBQ: watermelon. Grilling avocados takes them to a whole new level – like in this grilled guacamole – but if you’re not a fan, just grill the watermelon on its own in this salad recipe.
Don’t let summer pass you by without making watermelon a constant companion. Watermelon and summer, a great combo!