It's hard to beat a slice of fresh, crisp watermelon on a summer day. Equally refreshing are watermelon drinks and icy treats that make use of overripe watermelon you may have in the fridge. Even watermelon rind is tasty with an easy pickling technique.
Smoothies, Juices and Cocktails
A few seconds in the blender turns overripe watermelon into the base for cocktails, such as Margaritas and sidecars, or a refreshing juice. Mix blended watermelon with a spritz of sparkling water or a little sugar. Combine it with milk, ice cream or frozen fruit to make a smoothie. To make frozen drinks, freeze the watermelon before you blend it. If the pulp and juice in watermelon drinks separates, fix the problem with just a stir.
Ice Pops, Granitas and Sorbets
Using frozen watermelon puree, frozen desserts and snacks are a breeze to create. Freeze the puree in ice pop molds for children; add a few tablespoons of lime juice or a minced jalapeno pepper to adult versions. For an icy granita, freeze blended watermelon puree in a shallow pan in your freezer and scrape it with a fork every half-hour until it's set. Add about 1/2 cup of cream for every 3 cups of watermelon for sherbet.
Soups and Puddings
You won't miss ripe watermelon's crisp texture when you puree it for soups and puddings. For soup -- served chilled or at room temperature -- combine pureed watermelon with a little cream and a splash of lime juice, then top it with shredded basil. For pudding, cook the watermelon puree with 1/2 cup of cornstarch for every 3 pounds of watermelon until it thickens, and add enough sugar to sweeten it. Chill the mixture for about four hours and serve it with a dollop of yogurt or whipped cream.
If your watermelon is too soft to salvage, create watermelon pickles with the rind. Wash the rinds, cut them into uniform pieces and simmer them for about 15 minutes in equal parts vinegar and sugar, along with a few whole cloves and a cinnamon stick. Place the rinds in heat-proof jars and cover them completely with the pickling solution. They'll be ready to eat in as little as 12 hours.
Susan Lundman began writing about her love of cooking, ingredient choices, menu planning and healthy eating after working for 20 years on children's issues at a nonprofit organization. She has written about food online professionally for ten years on numerous websites, and has provided family and friends with homemade recipes and stories about culinary adventures. Lundman received her M.A. from Stanford University.