Tasty summer watermelon recipes, plus how to choose and store them

Drinks, desserts and everything in between!

Posted by Katie Machol Simon on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 5:30 PM

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What's the first thing that comes to mind when you see a watermelon? Summer! This quintessential warm weather fruit is a great accompaniment for an outdoor get-together or even as a healthy snack. Heck, you can even use it in a drink!

Give the recipes (from some seriously tasty-looking food blogs) below a gander for summer cooking and entertaining inspiration, then read along for tips on selecting and storing them.

Drinks:

Basil Watermelon Caipirinha (No Recipes) - A fun riff on the classic Brazilian drink.

Watermelon Frosty (Healthy, Happy Life) - Great for the kids, but with the addition of vodka or tequila, this makes a great grownup drink, too.

Watermelon Jalapeño Cocktail Cooler (Gourmet Fury) - Love the flavor combination of the cool watermelon, spicy jalapeno and verdant herbs going on in this cocktail.

Appetizers/Sides:

Minty Peach and Watermelon Salad with Feta Cheese (What's For Lunch Honey) - A mix of sweet and savory with a hint of salty Feta.

Radish, Watermelon and Bulgur Salad (Marcus Samuelsson) - A unique, vegan dish with varying flavors and textures.

Seared Watermelon with Flavors of Summer (Herbivoracious) - It looks like a piece of bright red, seared salmon, but it's watermelon!

Spanish Watermelon Gazpacho (Baltic Maid) - A savory approach to watermelon gazpacho and perfect for a scorching summer day.

Smoked Salmon Spring Rolls with Watermelon and Beet Puree (Karine Moniqui) - These would make a great appetizer or even a light meal. (Recipe is in French, use Google translate for this one.)

Watermelon and Goat Cheese Bites (The Meaning of Pie) - Watermelon, goat cheese, basil and... bacon! Need I say more?

Desserts:

Watermelon Jello Shooters (That's So Michelle) - Jello shots in hulled out citrus rinds — genius!

Watermelon-Lime Garnita (Girl Versus Dough) - Akin to a fancy watermelon slushie.

Watermelon Saké Popsicles (Imbibe Magazine) - This could be filed under "drinks" or "desserts", but most certainly is not one for the kiddies.

Watermelon Sorbetto (Today's Nest) -

Dawn Bryan, author of The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving and founder of Qualipedia™, gives the following tips on how to select the perfect watermelon and how to store the leftovers.

Five tips for selecting a ripe, flavorful watermelon:

-Look for a watermelon that has bright skin, is firm, symmetrical, and free of cuts.
-Find one that feels heavy for its size; “water” melons contain more than 90% water and the ripest ones have the most water.
-Should not be narrower on one end or misshapen; this could mean it grew in fits and starts.
-The underside should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun — rather than being picked early.
-Position the melon two inches from your ear, thump or tap it with your free hand. If not ripe enough, it will sound solid; if too ripe, it will sound thick; if perfect, it will resonate as hollow.

How to store watermelon:

-Keep them a bit cooler than room temperature and refrigerate only for a few hours. While refrigeration keeps them from rotting, it also degrades both flavor and texture, characteristics that start to deteriorate as soon as watermelons are picked.
-Cut watermelons should be wrapped in plastic before refrigeration to preserve their taste without absorbing odors from other food.

Image via: Sand Box World.

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