Watermelon is more versatile than you’d think. In fact, you can toss it in salads, place it in the freezer and even char it on your grill. In honor of National Watermelon Day, here are some unique (and delicious!) ways to make the most of your watermelon-binging before summer’s over:
Remember those delicious fruit roll-ups you used to devour as a kid (or maybe still do)? They were definitely hard to resist, but loaded with sugar, artificial flavoring and who knows what else. Good news: You don’t need a store-bought kids’ snack to enjoy the same chewy texture and sweet taste. All you really need are two ingredients: watermelon and sugar (a whole lot less than you’d get from the packaged kind). So how do you turn a large, juicy and watery fruit into a leathery substance? You drain it, add sugar, pour into a pan and bake it for three hours. Cool, right?
Recipe: Watermelon Fruit Leather
Juices, lemonades and teas are no doubt delicious on a hot summer’s day, but they’re also counterproductive to that bun-blasting class you took last week. All of that excess sugar in most store-bought brands overloads your liver’s sugar storage capacity, converting it into fatty acids. Sounds pretty intense… and it is! Shy away from these sweet drinks in the summer by making your own refreshing and satisfying watermelon treat. Just chop it up, blend it with some lime juice and water, strain it and voila! Add some fresh basil and/or your alcoholic beverage of choice and you’ll be ordering watermelon in bulk before you know it.
Recipe: Watermelon Agua Fresca
When you think about a summer barbecue, watermelon’s usually not too far from mind – that is when it’s sliced up and chilled on a plate. But chances are, you’ve never thought about adding it to a flaming hot grill. It might sound out of the ordinary, but it’s definitely a cooking method worth trying. Prep it with a little seasoning – maybe some hot chile flakes or some cajun spices – and you’re good to go. It’s also delicious when drizzled with balsamic glaze. Yum!
Recipe: Chili Lime Grilled Watermelon
If you’re in the mood for an icy treat, but are avoiding eye contact with any ice cream trucks, stores or stands, you’re in luck. Watermelon makes the perfect ingredient for a sweet, refreshing sorbet. And it’s way easier than you’d think! All you need to add is some sugar, water and lemon or lime juice and you have yourself a better-than-bought (and way healthier) cold dessert.
Recipe: Watermelon Sorbet
Yet another friendly dessert favorite, store-bought jello is also insanely high in sugar and artificial ingredients. Cut out the stuff you don’t need by whipping up your own watermelon-flavored jello. Hey, if you’re feeling frisky, you can even add some liquor to it to make delicious and low-cal jello shots – just sayin’! All you really need are a few packets of unflavored gelatin, some sugar for added flavor and water!
Recipe: Homemade Watermelon Jello
Nothing beats a fresh, crisp salad in the summertime heat. It gives you the energy you need to kick butt in bootcamp without weighing you down even on your days off. And if you’ve never thought about adding summer’s favorite fruit to your salad mix, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Juicy watermelon offers a fresh and satisfying ingredient to almost all of your salad-ingredient favorites. Try grouping it with crumbled goat cheese and balsamic reduction, maybe some basil leaves and blueberries — whatever you’re craving, watermelon shall deliver.
Recipe: Watermelon Salad With Balsamic Reduction