Watermelon and summer just go together, don't they? There's nothing like sitting in the backyard or the porch with a slice of cool, crisp watermelon after a long day at the beach.
The trouble with a watermelon is that they're so big and intimidating in the store or on the back of a truck. Once you get that toddler-sized fruit home - is there anything you can do with it besides just slicing it up? I mean, can you really, you know, use a watermelon in recipes and...stuff? The answer is absolutely. Here are five easy things to do with a watermelon.
5. Blend It: Because watermelons have so much sweet juice, they make great coolers. Simply cut your watermelon into small chunks (make sure you get all the seeds out or use a seedless variety) and pop it in the blender with some ice and agave syrup for a cool watermelon slushie. Add vodka or rum for an alcoholic slushie, fresh berries for a sweeter drink, or mix with lemonade for a tangy take on the all-American classic.
4. Carve It: We've all seen watermelon baskets, but we're talking about carving them into summer Jack o' Lanterns! Use a mini watermelon for this project, because they're round (choose watermelons that can stand on their side). Draw your face on the melon and using a big knife, cut a big hole in the top. scoop out the flesh (save it to make coolers). Once the watermelon is cleaned out, carve the face. Put a light into the melon head and use as a decoration.
3. Bloom It: You know those flower arrangements made from watermelon that cost like $50 that secretly you think are cool? Save the money and make them yourself. Slice seedless watermelon to about an inch in thickness. Use flower shaped cookie cutters to make the desired shape and stick the blooms onto wooded kebab sticks. You can place these into a vase filled with foam, or cut a watermelon in half to serve as a "window box".
2. Grill It: Yes, you can barbeque anything, even a watermelon. Here's the trick: you need to dry out some of the juice before you place it on the grill. Here's how:
Leaving the rind on the melon, cut into wedges about 1 1/2 inches thick. Salt the wedges with coarse sea salt and place on a rack over the sink for about an hour to drain. The salt will also pull out some of the moisture. Brush off the excess salt, brush lightly with olive oil and place on a very hot grill. Cook each side for about five minutes or just enough to get char marks. Top with crumbled feta cheese.
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SHOW ME HOW
1. Spike It: To properly spike a watermelon with vodka, place the watermelon in a large bowl to prevent tipping. Cut a hole in the top of the watermelon (save that piece of rind for later) and scoop out a little bit of melon flesh (about two scoops). Invert an open bottle of vodka or rum into that hole and let it sit overnight. When you wake up the next day, the contents of the bottle should have drained into the watermelon. remove the bottle carefully and plug up the hold with the saved rind. Chill for about an hour, cut and serve.
Hint: If you're pressed for time or you're going to serve the melon in chunks anyway, save yourself some trouble and cut the melon into pieces or slices, place into a large foil pan, pour vodka or rum over the melon and put in fridge to soak and chill. It's less dramatic, but just as yummy.