By Isadora Baum
Nothing screams, “Summer!” like a cool, refreshing wedge of watermelon.
And with good reason: Not only is watermelon cooling and hydrating (it’s about 92% water, hence the name), it’s also loaded with vitamins A and C, lycopene (which may help protect your skin from sun damage), and potassium, an important nutrient to replenish after a sweaty workout.
Along with simply grabbing a wedge at a cookout, here are 5 more cool ways to enjoy everyone’s favorite melon.
It’s as simple as tossing some chunks into a blender and grabbing a straw, but you can jazz it up with a few other summer favorites, like mint and lime, suggests nutritionist Lola Berry. Add a bit of vodka or gin for a fruity cocktail–since watermelon is hydrating, including it may help keep hangovers at bay.
ADD TO SANDWICHES
Berry recommends layering thinly sliced watermelon onto sandwiches for an unexpected taste and texture. She pairs it with cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, or avocados (or a combo). Pro tip: Make the sandwiches just before serving to keep them from getting soggy, or use watermelon in place of bread.
Grilling watermelon helps tame the sweetness and gives that familiar flavor a twist. Eat it as is, or add it to a salad, as below.
Citrus is usually the fruit we think of first for dressings, but watermelon makes an excellent and unexpected addition to vinaigrette. Try it on the fruit salad below, and use the leftover dressing on mixed greens or as a dipping sauce for grilled meat or chicken.
AS ICE CUBES
If you prefer water or seltzer in your glass instead of juice but appreciate a bit of flavor, use watermelon chunks as ice cubes, Berry suggests. Just cut the melon into ice-cube-sized chunks and freeze on a baking sheet, then transfer to a ziplock bag to store in the freezer.
Of course, we wouldn’t turn down a watermelon ice pop, either.