Watermelons come in a wide array of sizes with flesh that can be red, pink, yellow, or orange. The popular "seedless" varieties contain a few white seeds that are small, soft, and edible. By weight, watermelons are 92 percent water--no wonder they're so refreshing!
In Season: Melons need heat to sweeten; summer and early fall is their prime.
What to Look For: Tap a ripe melon and you'll hear a hollow thump. The rind should be smooth, round, and unblemished, with a yellow spot on one side where the melon sat on the ground, ripening in the sun.
How to Store: Store whole melons in a cool spot. Cover wedges in plastic and refrigerate up to 4 days.
Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Basil Oil
A basil-infused oil makes a sweet, herbaceous dressing for summer produce and creamy goat cheese.
Basil Gimlet Fizz
Frozen watermelon cubes replace the ice in this aromatic, summery twist on the classic vodka cocktail.
After a stay in the freezer, cubes of watermelon become "ice" for this margarita, which gets an herbal edge from basil-infused tequila.Get the Watermelon-Basil Margaritas Recipe
Tabbouleh with Watermelon
Watermelon replaces the traditional tomato in this Middle Eastern salad, giving it bursts of sweetness. Goat cheese, another new add-in, provides creamy contrast.
Watermelon gives a pink blush and refreshing essence to the classic Cuban cocktail.
Watermelon and Coconut Sorbet Parfaits
These simple, striking parfaits are the kind of dessert that wows guests but requires barely more effort than cutting fruit. Ripe watermelon cubes and coconut sorbet taste delicious (and look gorgeous) together, needing only pinches of lime zest for a tropical inflection and toasted coconut for crunch.
Watermelon, Orange, and Feta Salad
We love salty-sweet combinations, and this salad is a great play on those flavors. It's also got a refreshing crunch.
Nothing screams summer quite like this fresher-than-fresh pink and green cocktail.
Glazed Spareribs with Watermelon-Rind Chutney
Watermelon-rind chutney is actually an old-fashioned sweet pickle. Here it's made modern with ginger and Thai chiles, which enliven the crisp rind's naturally cool qualities. It pairs beautifully with succulent Asian-style spareribs.
Watermelon Bloody Marys
This not-just-for-brunch cocktail gets a light sweetness from watermelon juice. Freshly ground celery seeds add complexity, while dashes of Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces give it a kick.
Watermelon, Jalapeno, and Lemon Soup
Spicy chiles give a little heat to sweet watermelon in this simple and refreshing cold soup.
Sweet watermelon shavings get a savory snap from ribbons of scallions and crisped prosciutto.
Watermelon Punch and Bowl
A ripe watermelon becomes both punchbowl and drink with this fun, kid-friendly recipe. Scoop out the watermelon and puree the flesh in a food processor. Just before serving, mix the pureed fruit with chilled seltzer and pour into the hollowed-out melon shell.
Watermelon Salad with Rum and Mint
Pretty-in-pink melon, all grown up, energizes this spirited salad.
Halfway between a drink and a dessert, these loose-set watermelon treats include chunks of the fruit. If you like, top them with cubes of rose hip-hibiscus gelee flavored with fresh mint and basil.
Watermelon and Wafers
Nothing could be easier -- or more appealing -- than this Southern-inspired dessert of chilled watermelon scooped from the rind and served with sweet sesame cookies.
Tequila-Soaked Watermelon Wedges
This grown-up fruit dessert borrows flavors from a margarita. Tequila and triple sec infuse the watermelon slices, which also get a spray of lime juice and a sprinkling of coarse salt.
With these icy pink drinks, your summer celebration will be made in the shade.
Fresh fruit takes a quick trip through the blender to make these refreshing pops.
In this zesty gazpacho, watermelon and cranberry juice replace the traditional tomato base for a delightfully unexpected twist. Diced cucumber, red onion, celery, and red bell pepper provide a satisfying crunch.
Pickled Watermelon Rind
Serve this classic Southern favorite as an accompaniment to cheese and crackers, or enjoy it alongside a sandwich or hamburger.
Cucumber and Watermelon Salad
Cubes of watermelon and cucumber are dressed simply with lime juice, salt, and pepper for an extraordinarily simple and refreshing summer side dish.
Muddle fresh mint with sugar to release its aroma before combining with fresh watermelon puree, ginger ale and vodka. Lemon juice and bitters add the perfect balance to this bracing summer punch.