Watermelon holds a special place in my heart, as it reminds me of my Grandpa, who I lovingly called “Pop-eye.” Pop-eye, native to Polo, IL taught me how to spit watermelon seeds. He would slice off a wedge of watermelon bigger than my 6-year-old head, and I entered every seed into his seed-spitting contest. I don’t ever remember winning, but I do remember having fun with a belly full of watermelon juice.

Picking out the perfect watermelon is a crapshoot. I examine stems for a brown color (indicating adequate ripening time on the vine), and perform a sniff test. This past week at the grocery, as I was searching for the sweetest melon, a man interrupted my investigation and told me he would pick me a winner. He proceeded to thump several watermelons telling me it was all in the “feel”, and credited his Mississippi roots for his innate intuition. I took his recommendation home, sliced it up, and savored the sweet taste of summer. This Mississippi man knew what he was doing.

Several days later, while still delicious, the cut up watermelon was losing some of its integrity, so I decided to transform it into soup. Based on the ingredients I had on hand, the recipe included:

Watermelon Soup:

In a blender or food processor, blend:

  • 2-3 cups watermelon,
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 2 T. sherry vinegar
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 small shallot
  • ¼ cup fresh mint

While the soup had great flavor, it was a touch on the watery side and my family didn’t ask for seconds (fresh watermelon would have resulted in a thicker, more “soup-like” consistency). The next day as I was putting together a spinach and strawberry salad for lunch, I spotted the watermelon “soup” and decided to transform the melon once again – this time as a watermelon-based salad dressing.

Watermelon Salad Dressing:

  • ½ cup watermelon soup
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil,
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • Salt & Pepper

The third rebirth recipe was delicious, and the anti-food waster in me felt a real sense of accomplishment by not letting one drop of watermelon juice go to waste.

Time to buy the next melon – if only I could be so lucky to rendezvous with my southern friend again…

In addition to the recipes above, here are a few more of my watermelon favorites:

Watermelon & Tomato Gazpacho

Watermelon & Feta Salad

Watermelon and Ginger Spritzer

Jennifer McDaniel

Jennifer McDaniel is a Registered Dietitian, Media Spokesperson, and co-author of Prevention's Mediterranean Table Cookbook. She and her team of Registered Dietitians aim to help their clients go further, make change last, and unlock their potential. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband, and three young sons. If you are interested in working with Jennifer, please visit our contact page.