9 Ways to Use Watermelon This Summer

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:

Watermelon Pops

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

Watermelon Salad

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

Watermelon-Infused Water. Photo: Catherine Farquharson

Photo: Catherine Farquharson

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.


Watermelon Cake

Paleo Watermelon Cake

Watermelon Cake by Paleo Cupboard

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

Watermelon Gazpacho

Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho by Clean Eating Magazine

Gazpacho isn’t just for tomatoes. This sweet and spicy blend is a pleasant alternative to traditional gazpacho.


Watermelon Sorbet

Watermelon Sorbet

Watermelon Sorbet by Momtastic

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.


Watermelon Mojito

Watermelon Mojitos

Watermelon Mojitos by Barefoot Contessa

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

Watermelon Mint Lemonade

Watermelon Mint Lemonade by Against All Grain

A refreshing summer beverage for when you’re hanging out on a lazy Saturday afternoon.


Grilled Watermelon + Avocado Salad

Grilled Watermelon Salad

Grilled Watermelon + Avocado Salad by Abbey’s Kitchen

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!

 

Carla Matthews is a Certified Culinary Expert and Integrative Health Coach who loves to “eat clean and live green” and teach others to do so, too. Cooking, photography, travel and pilates are on her list of favorite things to do. She gives back to the community by cooking meals and teaching healthy eating classes at a temporary residence program for pregnant women. Follow her on her blog at www.growinwellness.com. Meet this expert

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