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10 Ways to Use Up Watermelon Before Summer Ends

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Maybe you went a little overboard at the farmers’ market and purchased a lot of extra watermelon. Now what? How do you get the most bang for your buck from this giant fruit hogging all the refrigerator space? From its ruby red flesh to the bittersweet green rind, here’s how to savor the last days of summer with watermelon.  

As summer marches on, finding new ways to use watermelon can be a challenge. We all love eating refreshing slices of plain watermelon. After a while though, eating those cubes and slices can just be plain boring, but it doesn’t have to be. The great thing about watermelon is its healthy and hydrating benefits, but its versatility also takes center stage. You can do practically anything with watermelon. From salads to sangrias, we’ve rounded up 10 ways to help you make the most of the summertime staple before apples start to take over for fall. Whether you chop it, grill it, or blend chunks into your morning smoothie, just don’t let it go to waste.

Get one last taste of summer by putting watermelon...

On the Grill

Photo: Greg Dupree

Fun fact: The grill makes everything taste better. Yes, even watermelon. Grilled thick watermelon wedges or steak-shaped chunks with a honey drizzle have become a hit at barbecue gatherings. The honey, and heat of the grill, enhance the natural sweet flavor of watermelon. If you’re not into throwing raw slices of watermelon on the grill, try it served with your favorite grilled meats, such as these grilled pork chops and grilled chicken dishes. And if you’re feeling a little creative, why not try grilled watermelon pizza? You get salty and sweet with a little heat--what’s not to love? Plus, it’s far more healthy than standard delivery.

In a Salad

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Not much beats that first bite into a juicy slice of watermelon, that is until you’ve had it mixed in with all the delicious fixings of a leafy green salad. Unlike most salads where fruit often takes a backseat to chicken or flavorful dressings, the watermelon is the star ingredient in this vibrant green peas and farro salad, which is a lighter alternative to classic pasta salad. On a warm summer day, the bold combination of sweet watermelon, feta cheese, and cucumber pickles makes this an interesting side or main dish for dining alfresco. And, of course, we can’t forget about this quick and easy watermelon and chicken salad that’s ready in less than 15 minutes. Now, grab a fork and dig in!

In Your Water

Photo: Teresa Sabga

Watermelon is already a great source of water, thus the name. It is one of the highest water-content fruits in the produce aisle. But for even more hydrating benefits, infused water is the way to go for summer. Drink your way to good health with this low-calorie watermelon infusion or a refreshing sip of watermelon agua fresca.

 

In a Tortilla

Photo: Hector Sanchez

We’d seriously consider eating every day like it’s Taco Tuesday if it meant having our tacos filled with watermelon and steak. The juicy melon serves as the perfect contrast to this spicy and tender cut of beef, all wrapped in one crispy shell. Fresh, light, and deliciously cool, tacos packed with watermelon make for a simple summer dinner.

In the Blender

Photo: Oxmoor House

When all else fails, throw watermelon chunks and creamy yogurt into a blender, and voila! One low-calorie fruit smoothie ready for a grab-and-go breakfast or snack. Trust us. You’ll be gulping this cool and creamy drink down in seconds.

 

In a No-Cook Soup

Photo: Karry Hosford

When it's jus too hot to eat or turn on the stove, gazpacho gets the job done. If you’ve ever had cucumber, strawberry, or tomato gazpacho, watermelon gazpacho is no different, except the fruit and veggie-packed soup has a slightly more chunky texture. This chilled soup, with its sweet and savory flavor combination, is the perfect first course of a summer meal.

In the Freezer

Photo: Johnny Miller

Probably the easiest way to enjoy watermelon outside of eating it raw is to freeze it in a deceptively simple granita. Don’t let the name scare you off. A granita is basically a glorified slushie or frozen dessert. Bright, slightly tangy, and sweet, one cup of this watermelon treat just screams summer. Mix, freeze, and prepare your spoon!

On a Stick 

Sara Tane
 

Nothing’s better on a hot summer day than a popsicle. Both kids and adults alike can enjoy an icy-cold treat. From these easy, kid-friendly watermelon and lemon ice pops to grown-up 3-ingredient boozy watermelon pops and watermelon-jalapeno ice pops—there's something for everyone when watermelon is involved. And of course we can’t forget about our warm-weather favorite: grilled kebabs. Threading chunks of watermelon on beef and veggie skewers offers a salty-sweet combo that’s light and healthy. Proof that food's better when it's on a stick.

In Your Drink During Happy Hour

Photo: Lee Harrelson

What happens when cocktail hour and summer come together? Sheer bliss. Forget iced tea and lemonade—the tastiest summer beverage might just be watermelon margaritas, good-for-you watermelon mojitos, or slimming melon sangrias. Don’t drink alcohol? No worries! You can enjoy your poolside happy hour experience all the same with a watermelon and lime-flavored club soda. Drink up! After all, that summer thirst certainly won’t quench itself.

In a Jar

Too often we toss away the rind when we’re done eating the fleshy, sweet inside, which leads to food waste. So when life hands you too much rind, make watermelon-gingered pickle relish instead. It’s great for outdoor gatherings and picnics. All it takes is a little vinegar and ginger, and you’re well on your way to one of the tastiest homemade condiments to come out of a jar.

If by some strange chance you still have more watermelon left over, remember these rules for proper storage:

  1. Keep whole watermelon in a dark, cool place for no longer than four days until it’s ready to be sliced. If longer, it’s best to either put the whole melon inside the fridge or cut it in half, wrapping it tightly with plastic wrap and storing in the fridge.
  2. Once you’ve cut it, try eating watermelon within two to three days. You can store cut pieces in airtight plastic containers in the fridge. For salads and grilled slices, try using firm, solid chunks when the watermelon is first cut. However, for margaritas, smoothies, or ice pops, watermelon cubes that are slightly soft after a few days are great for blending and pureeing.

When it comes to eating watermelon, the general rule of thumb is the sooner you eat it, the better. And with these delicious recipes and drinks, we’re sure you’ll have no problem diving in and using up every sweet and juicy inch.