9 Cool And Creative Ways To Use Watermelon

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.

Click here to see the 9 Cool and Creative Ways to Use Watermelon Slideshow

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.

Armed with that knowledge, it's time to march into the produce aisle and grab some melons. And for when you get back, we've gathered together some top-notch recipes for you to try — plenty of appetizers, a dessert, and even a main dish. Of course, we're not going to give everything away at the get-go. But, to whet your appetite, here are some highlights:

Chilled soup — summertime staple or ultra-predictable? Perhaps a little of both. But base it on watermelon and it's an interesting twist. Drop some fresh, juicy lobster in there — now we're talking! Check out chef Eric O'Neill's showstopper watermelon recipe, one that's sure to impress guests.

And here's another appetizer worth checking out. A Tuna Watermelon Ceviche from De Rodriguez Restaurant in South Beach, Miami, is marinated in a zesty, spicy mixture of sambal oelek, lemon oil, and lime and yuzu juice. Definitely not to be missed.

Next, turn the volume up to 11 and really get the party started with these ballsy passed hors d'oeuvres. For a little extra kick, conveniently forget to tell your guests these party snacks are spiked and let the haze settle in for a surprise. Of course, don't go letting the kids run around eating these adult treats.

But enough with the rambling. It's time for a show — after all, how does the old saying go? Yes, yes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, then this slideshow is worth at least a million. (OK, maybe not... there are only nine slides.)

Click here to see the 9 Cool and Creative Ways to Use Watermelon Slideshow