Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon
Ingredient

Watermelon

Save to Recipe Box
Print
Add Private Note
Saved Add to List

    Add to List

Print
Add Recipe Note

What is it?

Watermelons are loosely considered to be a type of melon. They have a thick, smooth, variegated green rind and juicy, sweet flesh that is usually red and dotted with small black seeds. However, watermelons come in many colors and varieties—with and without seeds.

Watermelons are available from May to September, though they’re at their peak from mid-June to late August.

Yellow watermelons have pastel-yellow flesh that’s just as fragrant, juicy, and sweet as red melons, but with a fine, sherbet-like flavor. Try the Yellow Crimson (it’s similar to red Crimson Sweet but even more sugary), the rarer pale-yellow Cream of Saskatchewan.

Icebox watermelons are spherical, weigh an average of 10 pounds, and are often seedless. Try Sugar Baby, which is very sweet, with firm flesh, or Mickey Lee, which has a light-green, speckled rind and deep-red flesh.

Picnic watermelons are heavy, oblong behemoths and they are the iconic Fourth of July treat. They can range anywhere from 15 to more than 50 pounds and traditionally have small to large brown-black seeds (though, these days, more and more are bred to be seedless). Look for an heirloom variety like Georgia Rattlesnake; its rind is streaked with pale-green stripes, and it has sweet, bright-pink flesh.

Mini watermelons, or “personal” watermelons, weighing up to 6 pounds, account for about 12 percent of watermelons sold. Usually seedless, with a thin, delicate rind, it’s perfect for one or two. Try Extasy—it has a striped rind and crisp, deepred flesh—or the pink-hued Little Baby Flower.

Orange watermelons are newer to the melon scene; their eye-catching color is a fun addition to fruit salads. These watermelons tend to be smaller than their red relatives, weighing in around 8-10 pounds.

Seedless watermelons
are a relatively new variety, their juicy, red flesh is easy to eat because it has only a few edible white seeds. These melons can be oval or round and usually weigh between 10 and 20 pounds.

How to choose:

Watermelon is at its peak from June through August. At the market, look for unblemished melons that are firm with absolutely no soft or bruised spots. A ripe watermelon has a healthy sheen and a creamy yellow spot on the side that rested on the ground. Fully ripe watermelons should feel quite heavy for their size. Pick up a few and choose the heaviest melon you can find. The melon should also smell sweet and flowerlike or richly perfumed, never unpleasantly musky or slightly fermented. The stem end is the best place to smell for ripeness. If a melon has no smell, it may be underripe, so choose another. Ripe watermelons also make a hollow sound when you tap them, rather than a dull thud. Give it a thump with your knuckles and listen.

How to store:

A whole watermelon should be stored in a cool place (it will better retain its flavor and texture if unrefrigerated) and will keep for about two weeks. However, if you have a ripe watermelon store it in the refrigerator and plan to use it within a few days. Take melons out of the fridge about a half hour before you plan to eat them because their sweetness and flavor will be dampened if they’re too cold.  Wash the outside before cutting into it to remove any bacteria. Refrigerate cut watermelon in a plastic container or zip-top bag for up to four days.

    Recipes

  • Recipe

    Grilled Tuna with Charred Corn and Watermelon Salsa

    This might look like typical salsa, but—surprise!—it’s made with watermelon. The fresh, sweet flavor of the melon and corn is balanced by minced chile and garlic.

  • Recipe

    Grilled Lamb Chops with Watermelon-Feta Salad

    Fresh, juicy watermelon is the perfect counterpoint to sweet, smoky lamb. Add tangy cheese, salty olives, and fresh mint, and each bite explodes with flavor. Serve with grilled bread and…

  • Recipe

    Watermelon, Cucumber, and Feta Verrines

    An elegant take on the classic salty-sweet watermelon-feta salad, these verrines get minty flavor from cubes of honey-mint gelatin. Cucumbers and pear add a bit of crunch and freshness. These…

  • Moveable Feast

    Watermelon & Goat Cheese Salad

    Peppery greens complement the sweet, clean flavor of watermelon in this salad topped with creamy goat cheese.

  • Recipe

    Watermelon Rind Pickles

    Pickled watermelon rind is a Southern staple that takes the notion of wasting nothing to an entirely new level by transforming a part of the fruit that is ordinarily discarded…

  • Recipe

    Cured Watermelon Crudo with Thyme

    This is one of my favorite ways to start or finish a summer meal—it’s tantalizing enough to get your taste buds going and refreshing enough to cleanse your palate. The…

  • Recipe

    Tomato and Watermelon Salad with Feta

    Made with some of summer’s juiciest fruits and vegetables, this vibrant salad is as refreshing as it is nutritious. For the prettiest presentation, use tomatoes of various colors and shapes.

  • Recipe

    Watermelon Blush

    Made with St-Germain, an elderflower liqueur, this summery drink is sweet, with a light effervescence.

  • Recipe

    Watermelon-Basil Water

    Tempted by the colorful array of flavored waters at the supermarket? They're often just glorified soft drinks without the carbonation. It's much healthier (and less expensive) to make your own.…

  • Recipe

    Coffee-Rubbed Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Watermelon Rind Relish

    Think twice before you toss out your watermelon rinds; their neutral flavor readily absorbs the sweet-spicy seasonings in this relish. Ground coffee beans infuse the pork with rich, earthy notes.

Comments

Leave a Comment

Comments

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Delicious Dish

Find the inspiration you crave for your love of cooking

Fine Cooking Magazine

Subscribe today
and save up to 44%

Already a subscriber? Log in.

Videos

View All

Moveable Feast Logo

Season 4 Extras

San Juan, Puerto Rico (513)

Miami chef Michelle Bernstein steps into the host role as Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking travels to Puerto Rico—an episode that was filmed in the summer prior to Hurricane Maria,…

View all Moveable Feast recipes and video extras

Connect

Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks