9 Cool and Creative Ways to Use Watermelon

Beat the heat with these innovative and fun watermelon recipes

Exercise a little creativity with this sweet, juicy melon, like with these Spiked Watermelon Balls.

Whew — it sure is hot out there. It’s high time to take some lemons, make lemonade, set up the Slip 'N Slide, and plunge your face into some big, juicy watermelon. Most people would stop right there and be completely content, but we gathered together some recipes from cooks who have done some pretty interesting and delicious things with watermelon. It's a good chance to use up any leftovers as well… after all, there’s only so much watermelon one can eat at once.

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Of course, there’s one big issue that should be addressed: how to pick a good watermelon. After all, one doesn’t want to be stuck with eating eight pounds of mediocrity. According to Barbara Ann Kipfer, author of The Culinarian: A Kitchen Desk Reference, "Watermelon does not mature after it is picked, so it is important to choose carefully." No pressure there: Pick one — just don’t screw it up. So how do the savvy shoppers find the good ones?

There are a couple of signs to look for, says Kipfer. One classic test is the thud test. Give it a good rap with a knuckle and listen closely. If it echoes slightly, it means it’s a nice, juicy one.

The other way to tell, although it's not as reliable, is to look for a slightly rough, light-yellow patch. It may be a sign that the watermelon has had a chance to ripen longer before it was picked, so it should be nice and sweet.