One of the great parts of summertime is when those massive green globes start appearing stacked in supermarket produce aisles, become common adornments to the beds of trucks and scare all the other fruits in the market. Watermelons are something special. Sweet and cool, a flash and clash of color, a family feeder of a fruit that calls for serious attention when slicing up.

In no way would we like to suggest that simply gathering round a watermelon and chowing down isn’t enough, but in addition, let us note that there is so much more that can be done. From the rind to the seed, watermelons can delight us, enhancing our weekend picnics in many other exciting ways. So, it’s time to let the big fruit, actually a special kind of berry, show off a little.

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1. Pickle Them

The rinds of watermelons are usually something people toss aside, at best into a compost bin, but the truth of the matter is that the firm, white inner part of the rind makes for some dandy pickles. Slice them up and soak them in a little vinegar, a squeeze of citrus juice, maybe some cinnamon and cloves.

2. Collect Them

On equal playing grounds with rinds, watermelon seeds are often thrown away or spit out, but, like squash and pumpkins (of the same family), they are edible, even nutty. So, why not collect them and use them as we do those similar seeds we are more accustomed to eating. Or, make some muffins.

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3. Intoxicate Them

Adding a little alcohol to the mix will always liven things up. Watermelons are no different. Cut a hole through the rind of a melon and pour in some vodka or rum to make it (or the people who eat it) a bit sillier. A booze-y melon can be eaten as normal or blended into cocktail.

4. Freeze Them

Frozen treats are yet another delight of hot summers, and watermelon is very well suited for making watermelon ice pops, sorbet and even gelato. It pairs well with hibiscus or other things with a slightly sour flavor about them. Blending it with coconut milk makes for a creamier concoction.

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5. Dice Them

Fiestas will kick of big time come Cinco de Mayo, but why wait or why stop with that. The party can continue, and nothing says fiesta like a wicked salsa or two for those tortilla chips, burritos and tacos. Watermelon adds another layer, a kick of sweet, bursting crunch.

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6. Soup Them

Who says gazpacho is just for tomatoes? For a nice, refreshing summer soup, a seductive sweetness on the finish, we can try throwing some watermelon in the blender with a few things and surprise guests, perhaps ourselves, with a unique flavor and wonderful dish.

7. Barbecue Them

It doesn’t take much effort. Simply slice rounds of watermelon into quarters, leaving the rinds on. Season them with a sprinkle of salt and splash of olive oil.  Flip them on the grill for five or six minutes. The heat will intensify the natural sugar, the grill will mark them up beautifully—a fun treat.

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8. Sip Them

It’s not on every menu across the nation, but watermelons are perfectly suited for making a delicious beverage. Option one, of course, is just tossing a hunk or two in the blender. The fruit provides its own liquid. But, there are also some tasty combinations and recipes for watermelon drinks.

9. Plant Them

The seeds are there (most of the time), so why not take advantage? Watermelons love the heat, and they have the tendency to sprout up pretty readily in the hottest months, taking over compost bins or simply setting down roots where they’ve been spit out. So then, grow them for free.

10. Stack Them

Salads are super for summer: light and bright on the palate with the potential for all sorts of twists of flavors. Watermelon adds an intriguing wrinkle. It stacks well with slices of beets, it piles comfortably atop beds of greens and, of course, it’s right at home amongst other fruits.

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11. Glaze Them

Actually, watermelons are the glaze. Blend some watermelon with a favorite jam—mint or jalapeño are fantastic—and some peppery spices for a great sweet-and-spicy glaze to baste those vegetable kabobs or tempeh slices into something remarkably new and exciting.

12. Carve Them

Who needs pumpkins? Watermelons make for some beautiful centerpieces come dessert by the end of the night. The mix of the bright red and vibrant green makes for a beautiful, eye-catching combination. For those of us skilled with jack-o’-lanterns, why not give watermelons a go?

Whatever tastes we are after, watermelon has a means of meandering in, livening up the party with juicy bursts of cool and crisp crunches of sweet that feel like summer.

Lead Image Source: A True Summer Superfruit: Watermelon and All Its Health Benefits