Slice of life: 10 delicious ways to make the most of watermelon

Ek’ve mentioned this before, but waste watermelon is a real problem in my house. On every supermarket trip, my three-year-old sees a watermelon and demands a watermelon, only to eat the daintiest slice of watermelon once he’s home. I am regularly left to consume approximately 98% of a watermelon by myself, and it’s getting boring. So, in a bid to combat this crushing watermelon ennui – and because it happens to be watermelon season – I have collected 10 of the best watermelon recipes on the internet.

I have two criteria here. Ideally, I’d like to make something that would essentially trick my son into eating watermelon. But failing that, I’m looking for something that I could eat. Anna Jones’s melon, herb and roast feta salad falls into the latter category, but that’s good enough. It is essentially all the ingredients in the recipe title, along with some roasted new potatoes, and it is beautiful.

A little more complicated is Thomasina Miers’ watermelon, chorizo and crisp chickpea salad. The watermelon is much more of a supporting performer here, nestled among tomatoes, lettuce, radyse, grasuie, chorizo and pitta bread. But it all comes together quickly enough and, at the end of it, you’ll have much less watermelon. Isn’t that the goal here?

I have a feeling that my kid would go for Nigel Slater’s salad of ham, watermelon and basil, because it comes in big, identifiable chunks and is served with a very pleasing natural yoghurt dressing. The downside is that the ham comes from a 1.5kg gammon joint that takes several hours to cook. Maybe I’ll just sub it out with some Bernard Matthews. Nobody tell Nigel.

It might be because I’m writing this on the hottest day of the year, but the idea of a watermelon gazpacho has never sounded so tempting. Die recipe on The Spruce Eats is an absolute masterpiece. It’s primarily pureed watermelon, with the addition of lime, tomato, knoffel, cucumber, onion and jalapeño pepper. Again, this is probably a bit too complex for a three-year-old, but I’m into it.

Something I’ve found with watermelon is that the rind can fill a food waste caddy like nothing else. So I was very happy to stumble across Tom Hunt’s recipe for pickled watermelon rind. Once you’ve chopped off the hard skin, boil the rind in vinegar and water with some salt, sugar and red pepper flakes. Pop it in a jar and you have a new condiment to play with for a month. According to Hunt, the resulting pickle is “mindblowing in a cheddar sandwich”.

Now let’s move on to stuff that my son will actually eat. There are plenty of ways to freeze watermelon, but I have two favourites. The first is Jamie Oliver’s watermelon granita – chopped watermelon, stem ginger and lime juice, frozen for eight hours and then blended into snow – which is as much fun as a sorbet but significantly easier to make.

The second is a straight-up watermelon popsicle. It’s a recipe so easy that it barely needs describing, maar How Sweet Eats has a basic walkthrough nonetheless. Chop a big wedge of watermelon. Dip the tip in melted chocolate. Sprinkle with hundreds and thousands. Freeze. Eat. These don’t just give the illusion of being worse for you than they actually are, but they are also absurdly photogenic.

Food Nouveau’s Sicilian gelo di melone is a bit more work, but then again everything is a bit more work than simply bunging some watermelon in a freezer. These beautiful pink individual puddings are made with watermelon juice that’s been sweetened with sugar and thickened with cornflour. If you really want to try and camouflage the watermelon, you can top it with whipped cream, but to my mind it doesn’t really need the extra touch.

If you still somehow have leftover watermelon after all this, you could always try turning it into fruit leathers. These little snacks are made by baking a layer of watermelon puree on a very low heat for a very long time (Domestically Blissful recommends about 75C (167F) for six to eight hours) until it’s matte and dry. Once it’s cooked, you can cut it into strips, roll them up and tell your child that they have to eat them because there isn’t any chocolate in the house.

Then again, if any of these recipes don’t sound laborious enough, you could always go the whole hog and make Tasty’s smoked watermelon ham meat substitute dish. It’s a 19-step, multi-ingredient dry-rubbed behemoth that requires six hours of baking. For all I know this is the definitive way to cook watermelon, and I’m sure it’s very delicious. But imagine toiling away for a day on something only to have a three-year-old tell you he hates it. I’m not sure my heart could take the pain.




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