How to pick a great watermelon (plus 2 recipes!)

What better fruit to depict the flavor of summer than watermelon! In Northeast Ohio, this fruit will be coming in season very soon. Whether you choose to support a local farmer or a retail store, picking out a watermelon has a bit of mystery. When you slice it open and taste that first bite, did you get a sweet and juicy one? Rather than disappointment, here are several tips that will help you confidently select a perfect watermelon:

  1. Choose a watermelon heavy for it’s size. Don’t be afraid to pick up a couple to gauge the weight.
  2. If the fruit has a nice creamy yellow or orange patch in its skin, good! This is called a field patch. It’s where the watermelon was sitting on the ground. Avoid white or light yellow as that’s a good indicator it’s not quite ripe.
  3. Look dry weather spots or web-like veins. These scars indicate that sugar has been seeping from the fruit and scared over. Another good indicator you’ve got a sweet one.
  4. Check the color. You want dark green stripes with contrasting light green stripes. The darker the green stripes the better.

What you eat matters

How healthy is watermelon?

Really healthy! First off, they are super hydrating, composed of 90% water. Notice a correlation between the time of the year this fruit is harvested and one great need the body has in summertime heat? That’s right water. Proper hydration is essential in the summer, supporting body temperature, metabolism, circulation, skin health and digestion. What’s even better is this fruit is low in sugar and calories. Nix the guilt and enjoy a bowl as a snack or with your meal.

Watermelon is a great source of the antioxidant lycopene, which helps combat oxidative stress (or stress on your cells to damaging free-radicals). This is what gives the fruit is red or pink color. Think of lycopene as a support to reduce the risk of heart diseases, type-2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Another interesting note, lycopene offers a some protection to the skin from sun. Boosting your diet with these beautiful red tones is like eating your sunscreen!

Watermelon is high is vitamin A (great for your skin and eyes), Vitamin C (supports your immune system and helps the body absorb iron), Vitamin B6 (helps the body process proteins, plus supports your immune system and nerve function) and potassium (important for nerve function and helps lower blood pressure.

Make it interesting

Here are a few ideas to make your next watermelon eating experience something remarkable…

  • Slice it up and serve with a finishing salt. The sweet and salty combo tantalizes the taste buds on your tongue, giving you an exciting bite every time.
  • Refrigerate before eating for added refreshment.
  • Dice it up and freeze it. Use it as ice cubes in a sparkling water or an adult beverage.
  • Or try one of these simple recipes!

Watermelon Chia Fresca

1 cup water

2 teaspoons chia seeds

2 1/2 cups seedless watermelon, diced and chilled

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon honey

Add 1/2 cup water and chia seeds to a serving glass. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes. This will allow the chia seeds to absorb the liquid and become gelatinous.

In a blender, add remaining water, watermelon, lime juice and honey. Process until pureed. Poor in the chia seeds and liquid. Pulse to blend.

Serve immediately.

Refreshing Watermelon Salad

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3 cups seedless watermelon, cubed

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup mint leaves, julianned

In a small bow, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and salt.

In a large serving bowl, combine watermelon, cucumber, feta, red onion and mint.

Add dressing and toss to coat. Add to fridge to set flavors and chill slightly.

Garnish with flaky sea salt or finishing salt if desired.