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How To Use a Whole Watermelon in One Week

All year, I dream of watermelon--my face disappearing into a giant slice of sun-ripened fruit, juice escaping down my hands, as I chomp on more. In Birmingham, it's that time of year where you can get a Death Star-sized watermelon for $7. Okay, that's a slight exaggeration, more like a Lego Death-Star-sized watermelon.

As a single woman, it can be quite intimidating. It's not the carrying it to the car part. I can totally get a large, awkward rolly-shaped object into my car by myself, thank you. Instead, it's intimidating because I worry whether or not I can eat it all. I love watermelon, but I question my capacity to eat a melon a quarter the size of me before it gets all grainy and gross. I absolutely hate wasting food. But I also hate missing out on a great deal, and those little watermelons? Totally a bad deal. They run at near $5! So I stand, for a good five minutes, eyeing the giant bin of watermelons in longing, looking over at the smaller, single-serve watermelons, and then looking back at the big juicy watermelon that I very much want to shove in my basket.

Then, I plop that big sucker in my basket. Because I love watermelon.

Here's the deal, just because you're single, or live with people who don't like watermelon as much as you do, doesn't mean you can't have the $7 watermelon. You just need to have a plan. And a plan is what I have (see below). If you find yourself in the same boat, march right into the store, man, and grab that thing like you own it--I mean, you will, when you pay for it--you got this covered!

The "I can eat an entire giant watermelon by myself (or with other people)" plan:

Day 1 and 2 are for eating your watermelon. Cut it into cute little shapes. Eat slices of it. Eat chunks of it. Put it in a salad.

Watermelon-Cucumber Salad
Photo: Johnny Miller; Styling: Sarah Smart

Here are a few ideas for enjoying your watermelon in its natural state: Watermelon-Cucumber Salad Spinach-and-Watermelon Salad Flank Steak with Grilled Mango and Watermelon Chutney Heirloom Tomato, Watermelon, and Peach Salad

Also, make yourself some popsicles! Stick them in the freezer and forget about them for a few days. Then, when you get sad that your watermelon is gone, surprise! Watermelon happiness in the freezer.

Watermelon-Jalapeño Ice Pops
Photo: Anna Williams; Styling: Pam Morris

Two great watermelon pop recipes: Watermelon-Jalapeño Ice Pops Minted Watermelon and Lemon Ice Pops

Day 3/4: Your watermelon has lost some of its physical integrity, it's getting a little droopy and grainy. The flavor is all still there, and as wonderful as ever, so work with what you have. Turn the juice into drinks or soups. Watermelon margaritas, watermelon-lime soda, watermelon gazpacho, watermelon mojitos--you can put it in all sorts of things.

Watermelon-Ginger Punch
Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr

Days 5-7: Pickle some watermelon rind! Try our recipe for gingered watermelon rind. If you still have some of that sucker left, invite over some friends or coworkers and mix up a pitcher of drinks. You'll get rid of your watermelon, and they'll think you're awesome.

Watermelon Margaritas
Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Ana Kelly, Mindi Shapiro

So go get that watermelon! The worst that can happen is you're sitting on your deck sipping watermelon margaritas with friends, and that doesn't sound so bad.