Sweet and juicy, watermelon is an icon of summer and good for you, to boot. Two cups contain 80 calories and zero fat and are packed with vitamins A, B6, and C and nutrients like potassium. US News & World Report notes that watermelon also contains lycopene, a plant chemical that helps lower the risk of cancer, heart disease, and macular degeneration (a cause of age-related vision loss). In peak season from May to August supply is plentiful and prices are low. To celebrate National Watermelon Day on August 3, we've compiled a list of five cheap and easy ways to enjoy this healthy, tasty summer fruit.
1. Watermelon Pops
To savor watermelon as nature intended -- is there any better way? -- but with less mess, cut one into triangle wedges and insert popsicle sticks in the rinds. Freeze for a few minutes and then take outside for a refreshing and healthy sweet on a hot summer day. Save the seeds for a good old-fashioned watermelon seed spitting contest -- the kids will love it.
2. Watermelon and Herbs
Watermelon goes well with a variety of herbs, such as mint and rosemary. Our article on cheap and refreshing summer drinks spotlights watermelon and rosemary flavored water, a personal favorite. You can also mix watermelon, mint, tequila, and ice in a blender for a summer watermelon margarita.
3. Watermelon Salad
There are many ways to incorporate watermelon into salad. Use it in a fruit salad with other melons or mix with strawberries and blueberries. To make an impressive fruit salad for a party, hollow out a watermelon and carve the edges of the rind into a decorative pattern, then fill with watermelon salad. For a twist, MyRecipes.com suggests combining watermelon, honeydew melon, plum slices, feta cheese, and a balsamic vinaigrette for a cooling summer salad.
4. Watermelon Salsa
There are many, many variations on watermelon salsa. Watermelon and tomatoes surprisingly go well together and make a tasty salsa. For a tomato-free version, try this one found on Eating Well. It combines watermelon, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeno peppers into a sweet salsa -- perfect for chicken, pork, or your favorite tortilla chips.
5. Grilled Watermelon
If you're firing up the grill, toss on a few pieces of watermelon that have been coated with a spot of olive oil. The smoky flavor mixes well with the enhanced sweetness teased out by the heat, resulting a perfect side dish for almost any grilled meat.