Watermelon is one of America’s all-time favorite foods. No other fruit says summer like the seductively sweet, subtly crunchy, thirst quenching watermelon! Domestic ones are at their best right now. Watermelon varieties range from giant 35-pounders to cantaloupe size. Their flesh can be red, pink, yellow or creamy white. They can be oblong or round, clothed in rind that’s solid, striped or speckled. Over the years, seedless ones have become commonplace. Those shiny black seeds have disappeared in these varieties and replaced with seeds that aren’t developed. The few scattered seeds that they have are edible. Anyway you choose it, watermelon is so refreshing this time of year!
Domestic watermelons are available from April-October, with the peak of the season from June-August. Global ones are available from October-May.
How to Pick
Once picked, watermelons do not ripen, so you need to pick out a ripe one while shopping. It should feel heavy for it’s size. If you slap the side of the melon, it should resound with a hollow thump, indicating the watermelon is full of juice and ripe. Choose symmetrically shaped melons without any flat sides. Avoid ones with cracks or soft spots. If buying a cut melon, avoid ones with a grainy, dry-looking flesh.
How to Store
Keep at room temperature up to 1 week. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks. Or, cut and cover the surface with plastic wrap or cut pieces and store in a container for up to 2 days. Baby watermelons are small enough to easily store in the refrigerator and ice chests. They have a thicker rind and a longer shelf life. To freeze watermelons, remove rind and cut into wedges or balls and freeze up to 3 months. Make sure to remove any black seeds first.
How to Prep
Wash and cut into wedges, chunks or balls. Or, cut off both ends, then half through equator. Place wider cut edge on a work surface. Using a study knife, cut off rind, cutting from top to bottom.
Watermelon is not only great on a hot summer day, it may also help quench the inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis. Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of A.
Unlike most melons, watermelon should be served cold. Add melon chunks or balls to fruit salad at the last minute or their juicy flesh will make the salad watery.