The time's ripe to taste this childhood favorite again, on its own or in recipes. Sweet, cold, juicy -- a treat no matter how you slice it.
Ripe for the Picking
Popular watermelons include the really large oblong ones called picnic melons, weighing in at 15 to 35 pounds, and smaller icebox melons, which weigh between six and 15 pounds. For a big bash, go for an oversize melon, but for recipes, choose one that's smallish, or pick up a half or quartered melon. You'll find, of course, watermelons with red flesh, but also ones that are pink, yellow, or orange inside. And there are "seedless" watermelons, which have small white seeds that are soft and edible.
Buying and Storing
Give the melon a tap; you'll hear a hollow thump if it's ripe. Look for a striped green rind that's smooth and dull, with no flat sides or blemishes (although a yellow spot where the melon sat on the ground is normal). Precut wedges should have firm, bright flesh. At home, cover wedges in plastic, and refrigerate up to 4 days.
And Virtuous, Too
Watermelons are made up almost entirely of water, so they're filling and refreshing without being heavy on calories. One cup of watermelon contains no fat and about 50 calories, making it a great-tasting, nourishing treat. They are a source of the antioxidant lycopene, potassium, and vitamins B6 and C.