Watermelon is hands down, my favorite summer fruit. I love it for its naturally sweet, delicious flavor and I could literally eat an entire watermelon myself every week of the summer!
I'm always perfectly happy eating plain old watermelon slices, but recently, I've decided to step out of the box and try some healthy watermelon recipes. Yes — this fruit also tastes great in savory salads, naturally sweet sauces, delicious desserts, and refreshing beverages!
Here's everything you want to know about watermelon, including why it's good for you, how to choose the best watermelon, and lots of creative and healthy watermelon recipes so you know what to do with that perfect melon once you get it home.
Is Watermelon Healthy?
- A 2-cup serving of watermelon has only 80 calories and 21 grams of carbs, from naturally occurring sugars.
- Watermelon's glycemic index is 51, making it a low glycemic food.
- Watermelon is full of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin A.
- It's an excellent source of the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene (the same compound found in tomatoes).
- Watermelon juice has been shown to reduce muscle soreness after exercise.
- Since watermelon contains more than 90% water, it's excellent for hydration.
How to Pick a Perfect Watermelon
It's hard! I know! But these tips can help:
- Look for a large, yellow field spot on one side of the watermelon. That spot means it was on the vine for a good long time getting nice and sweet and ripe.
- Check your watermelon over before choosing. Pick one that's free from bruises or dents. But scratches are OK!
- Choose a heavy watermelon. Heavy watermelons are juicy watermelons.
- Skip the shiny-skinned watermelons. Shiny skin means it's not as ripe. Choose one with dull skin.
- Stripes do not indicate ripeness. Some varieties have stripes. Others do not. There are 1,200 different varieties of watermelon.
- Cracks inside your watermelon? No problem! They're perfectly safe to eat and often sweeter because sugar gathers along the crack.
Delicious, Healthy Watermelon Recipes
- You don't have to refrigerate a watermelon until it's cut. It's fine to leave it out on the counter.
- Watermelon has 3-4 weeks of shelf life once it's cut from the vine. Keep in mind if you buy it at a regular grocery store it was probably picked a few weeks ago.
- Always wash the outside of your watermelon before cutting into it. And always use a clean knife. Although rare, melon skins can harbor Listeria bacteria, which causes a foodborne illness.
Whether you eat it straight, over the kitchen sink, with juice dripping down your chin, or you use a ripe, sweet watermelon in your favorite recipe, nothing says summer fruit quite like it.
Quick - Run right out and buy a watermelon or two! How do you like to eat it?