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Market Haul

Market Haul: Watermelon

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Juicy, sweet, and refreshing, it's no surprise that watermelon is an all-around summer favorite.

Sinking your teeth into a fresh watermelon wedge signals that summer has arrived. It's sweet, it's juicy, and it offers a ton of nutritional benefits. Watermelon is high in lycopene, amino acids, beta-carotene, and vitamin C.

How to choose them
Like most produce, watermelons start to deteriorate once they're picked, so buy local if you can. A locally grown watermelon is more likely to have spent less time traveling from the farm to the market.

The first thing to look for when choosing a watermelon is how shiny it is. A high degree of shininess indicates that the melon is under-ripe, so your best bet is to go with a dull-looking melon. You may notice people knocking on the fruit to see if it's ripe; it should be firm enough that your fist bounces off of the surface. Last, select a melon that's heavy compared to others its size. Heaviness equates to a higher water content, which means a juicier fruit.

How to use them
One of my absolute favorite summer salads is a watermelon panzanella, which combines the sweetness of the fruit, cubes of bread, and a variety of refreshing vegetables and herbs. Grilling is another savory preparation that's sure to please. Fresh watermelon can also be used to make cocktails like sangria and mojitos taste dangerously delicious. For a vibrant non-alcoholic treat, mix up a watermelon cooler.

How to store them
The best way to keep a watermelon fresh is to store it in a shady spot on your countertop until you're ready to cut it open. If you store it in the fridge, it stops producing carotene and lycopene, two beneficial antioxidants. At room temperature, a watermelon should last about a week or so.

What are your favorite ways to eat (or drink) watermelon? Share them in the comments below.

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About the Author
Amy Gordon
Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon is a Wharton graduate who prefers flip flops to business suits. She writes about travel, food, wellness, and social consciousness.

  • lisa p. 1 year ago
    Nothing beats homemade watermelon pickles! Some people flavor them with kool-Aid but I like them just plain pickled! When I juice it, I strain out the pulp and use the very light Watermelon "water" as a a great cocktail base. It goes great with ice cold gin. You can add a little citrus bitter and for the ice cubes, use frozen watermelon cubes.
  • Denise D. 3 years ago
    I love making a basket out of the watermelon by cutting out all the insides than cut the melody n fruit into cubes add berries and cut up apples....peaches...and mix together in basket. Get tons of compliments whenever I make
  • Brenda E. 3 years ago
    I freeze watermelon in chunks Add 6oz frozen concentrate of pink lemonade to frozen watermelon and blend to make watermelon slush. My kids love it!
  • Al T. 3 years ago
    Useful pointers on choosing thanks.
    But where are my points for reading that?!
  • beverly a. 3 years ago
    Watermelon tea and smothies
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