6 Unique Ways to Eat Watermelon
Watermelon can be considered frugal. While not exactly “cheap” in price, it can be purchased for a fair amount per pound (while on sale) and is one of those foods that goes the extra mile at a gathering. (We’ve been successful at producing a “fishes and loaves” effect when providing watermelon to more guests than we were prepared to have. Surprisingly, the watermelon helped keep everyone happy — even when the burgers and beans were in limited supply.)
If the thought of using a melon baller or cutting it into cubes is tedious and boring, try these ten inspired dishes. They are not for everyone, but for those that dig the melon, they are true delicacies.
If you’re a teetotaler, just skip this part (or check out this simple recipe from Chow). Otherwise, you can easily reproduce the tasty flavor of more expensive melon liquors with your own homemade potion. Here’s a great place to start (recipe compliments of the National Watermelon Promotion Board):
1 ½ ounces vodka
¾ ounce Triple Sec
½ ounce Roses lime juice
2 ounces watermelon juice
Pour all ingredients over ice and shake in tin until ice cold. Strain into chilled martini glass and garnish with watermelon ball.
Note: Recipes that require just the juice of the melon (and not the fruit) are easy to make ahead. Simply freeze the juice into ice cube trays and store the cubes in a freezer bag for when you need them. You can make mixed drinks and other treats all year long! (Additional ice cube strategies can be found via Myscha’s popular article.)
What? I know. It freaked me out a bit at first, as well. When you think about how much a watermelon has in common with a tomato, however, you can see that you could easily substitute watermelon in many sandwich recipes. Watermelon is especially appropriate in a pita or wrap with ham, chicken, and a mild cheese (plus lot of lettuce to give extra crunch). A nice, warm ciabatta bread with grilled chicken is how I’d serve my ideal watermelon sandwich, but if that’s too tame for you, check out this Watermelon Sloppy Joe!
Melon soup would most likely be served chilled, and there are dozens of recipes for variations of it. I particularly liked this 90-calorie version from SELF magazine, which gives you options for including either wine or sparkling water in the recipe. (I’ve noticed that many traditional watermelon soups contain fresh mint leaves in the recipe or as a garnish. If you don’t already have a small pot of fresh mint growing on your kitchen window sill — it’s a very easy way to invest in your culinary future!)
There are two ways to go with this: You can either make watermelon ice cream, or use the watermelon as a mix-in or garnish for your ice cream. There are plenty of watermelon ice cream recipes to choose from (many are actually more sorbets than creams), but I’m partial to this Emeril creation that also includes chocolate chips. For most standard ice creams, it’s usually common to use watermelon in the same proportion as the heavy cream, and then use honey and a tiny amount of sugar for additional sweetness (remember, watermelon is already very naturally sweet!).
The second option for incorporating watermelon into your icy treats is to do a banana split with no banana. You guessed it! Substitute watermelon instead. It’s very tasty!
What post of mine would be complete without frying something? Seriously, I grew up in a culture that accepted lard as an acceptable topping for toast, and I’m very aware that the state fair to the East of Nebraska deep fries everything (pickles, oreos, you name it). I’m in love with the idea of frying it lightly in a healthier oil (canola) and dusting the finished product with powdered sugar. I suppose it would be similar to a funnel cake?
Fruit salsa are popular everywhere, and I’ve always been keen on the idea. Unfortunately, they usually require mango as a main ingredient, and to be honest, I’m not a mango fan. The inclusion of watermelon into a salsa recipe gives it a milder flavor, but still offers a sweet compliment to your chips, meats, and fish. Try this simple recipe from the National Watermelon Promotion Board to get started (it can be stretched further for additional guests by serving over shredded lettuce):
2 cans corn kernels, rinsed and drained
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 purple onion, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons mild chili powder
Juice from 2 fresh limes
¼ cup olive oil
Salt to taste
3 cups chopped seedless watermelon
Mix together all ingredients except watermelon until well combined. Gently fold in watermelon. Chill. Serves 12 to 18.
Don’t see anything you like? Maybe you’re not a watermelon fan, but it’s also possible that you just aren’t using the right watermelon. Melons come in all kinds of varieties (seedless, traditional, heirloom) and give varying amounts of flavor and sweetness. Some taste more like the earth that they were grown in, and others offer a palette of color and texture. Experiment to find the watermelon that works for you, or consider growing your own for next year!