10 Refreshing Uses For Leftover Watermelon

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Watermelon is the quintessential summer fruit, known for its hydrating and sweet properties. However, sometimes we find ourselves with more watermelon than we can eat before it goes bad. Instead of letting it go to waste, here are 20 creative uses for leftover watermelon that will extend its life and add a burst of flavor to your meals and activities.

1. Watermelon Juice

Watermelon juice is not only a delightful refreshment but also a powerhouse of nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and B6, as well as potassium and amino acids. It’s an excellent way to hydrate on a hot day or after a workout, thanks to its high water content and electrolytes.

To make watermelon juice, start by selecting ripe leftover watermelon with deep red flesh, as it will be the sweetest and most flavorful. Cut the watermelon into chunks, removing any seeds if necessary. If you prefer a smoother juice, you can also remove the rind; however, some nutrients are found in the white part of the rind, so you might want to include some of it in your juicing.

Place the watermelon chunks into a blender and blend until smooth. The natural water content of the fruit should be enough to create a fluid consistency, but if your watermelon is less juicy, you can add a small amount of water to help it along.

2. Watermelon Ice Cubes

For those looking to preserve the juice for longer, it can be frozen in ice cube trays and then stored in freezer bags. These watermelon ice cubes can be added to drinks at a later date for an instant hit of summer flavor. Puree watermelon, pour the mixture into ice cube trays, and freeze. Use these flavorful ice cubes in drinks to add a touch of sweetness without watering them down.

3. Watermelon Salad

Watermelon salad is the epitome of a summer dish—light, refreshing, and incredibly easy to assemble. It’s a perfect way to use up leftover watermelon and transform it into a gourmet side dish or a stand-alone meal that’s both satisfying and healthy.

To start, choose a ripe watermelon with firm, juicy flesh. Cut the watermelon into bite-sized cubes, ensuring they are seedless for ease of eating. The sweetness and crunch of the watermelon provide a delightful contrast to the other ingredients you’ll be adding.

Next, crumble feta cheese over the watermelon cubes. Fresh mint is an essential addition to this salad, as its bright and aromatic qualities elevate the dish to new heights. For the final touch, a drizzle of balsamic glaze brings a rich, concentrated sweetness with a tangy kick that ties all the components together.

This watermelon salad can be served immediately or chilled in the refrigerator before serving. If you’re preparing it ahead of time, consider adding the balsamic glaze just before serving to maintain the freshness and prevent the salad from becoming soggy.

4. Watermelon Sorbet

Watermelon sorbet is a delightful frozen treat that captures the essence of summer in every spoonful. It’s an excellent option for those seeking a light and refreshing dessert or a palate cleanser between courses during a multi-course meal. The simplicity of the ingredients allows the natural flavor of watermelon to shine through, while the addition of sugar and lemon juice enhances its sweetness and adds a zesty brightness.

To create this simple sorbet, you’ll need to start with ripe watermelon, which should be cut into chunks and any seeds removed. The quality of your watermelon will greatly affect the final taste of your sorbet, so choose one that is sweet and deeply colored. Once you have your watermelon prepared, measure out the appropriate amount of sugar. The sugar not only sweetens the sorbet but also helps with the texture, preventing it from freezing too hard and becoming icy.

Lemon juice is the next key ingredient. Its acidity balances the sweetness of the watermelon and sugar, adding a dimension of flavor that keeps the sorbet from being one-note. Blend the watermelon chunks, sugar, and lemon juice together until smooth. For an even smoother texture, you can strain the mixture to remove any remaining pulp or bits of seed, although this step is optional and depends on personal preference.

Once your mixture is ready, transfer it to an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can pour the mixture into a shallow dish and place it in the freezer. Every 30 minutes to an hour, stir the mixture vigorously with a fork to break up any ice crystals, repeating this process until the sorbet is evenly frozen and has a smooth consistency. This manual method takes more time and effort but can yield excellent results.

6. Watermelon Popsicles

Transforming leftover watermelon into homemade popsicles is a delightful and straightforward way to enjoy a frozen treat while minimizing waste. Begin by pureeing the watermelon chunks in a blender until smooth, creating a vibrant and juicy base. For an added touch of sweetness or complexity, you can mix in a splash of honey, lime juice, or even a hint of fresh mint or basil.

Once your mixture is ready, pour it into popsicle molds, leaving a little space at the top for expansion as it freezes. If you like, insert small pieces of other fruits such as kiwi, berries, or peach slices into the molds to add visual interest and texture. Place the sticks into the molds and freeze for several hours until the popsicles are solid. When you’re ready to serve, run the mold under warm water for a few seconds to loosen the popsicles, then gently pull them out. These watermelon popsicles are not only a healthy and refreshing option for all ages but also a fun and colorful addition to any summer gathering or a cooling snack on a hot day.

7. Watermelon Gazpacho

Creating a watermelon gazpacho offers a refreshing twist on the traditional chilled soup, perfect for hot summer days. Start by dicing your leftover watermelon into small pieces, reserving some of the juice that naturally releases during the cutting process. In a blender, combine the watermelon with other gazpacho staples such as ripe tomatoes, crisp cucumber, and red bell pepper, all roughly chopped to facilitate blending. Add a small red onion and a clove of garlic for a savory depth, and pour in a splash of red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to enhance the flavors. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Blend until the mixture reaches your desired consistency, whether you prefer it smooth or slightly chunky.

Once blended, transfer the gazpacho to a large bowl and stir in finely minced fresh herbs like basil or cilantro, which complement the sweetness of the watermelon beautifully. For an added dimension, a pinch of cayenne pepper or diced jalapeño can introduce a subtle heat that contrasts the coolness of the soup. Chill the gazpacho in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving; this allows the flavors to meld and intensify. Serve the gazpacho in chilled bowls or glasses, garnished with additional diced watermelon, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese or toasted almonds for a touch of creaminess or crunch. This watermelon gazpacho is not only a delicious and inventive use of leftover fruit but also a light and healthy option that’s sure to impress your guests with its balance of sweet and savory notes.

8. Watermelon Rind Pickles

Watermelon rind pickles are a delightful way to utilize the often-discarded part of the fruit, transforming it into a tangy and sweet condiment. Begin by peeling the green outer skin from the watermelon rind and cutting the white part into small, bite-sized pieces. To prepare the rind for pickling, brine the pieces in a mixture of salt and water overnight, which helps to soften them and enhance their flavor. The next day, drain and rinse the rind thoroughly to remove excess salt.

In a saucepan, create a pickling solution by combining vinegar, sugar, and a blend of spices such as cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, and peppercorns. Bring this mixture to a boil, then add the rind pieces and simmer until they become translucent. Once cooked, transfer the rind along with the pickling liquid into sterilized jars, ensuring the pieces are fully submerged. Seal the jars and allow them to cool before refrigerating. After a few days, the watermelon rind pickles will be ready to enjoy, offering a unique balance of sweetness and acidity that pairs wonderfully with charcuterie boards, sandwiches, or as a quirky side to your main dishes. This old-fashioned treat not only reduces food waste but also provides a conversation-starting addition to any meal.

9. Watermelon Smoothies

Whipping up a watermelon smoothie is an excellent way to make use of leftover watermelon, creating a hydrating and nutritious beverage. Start by cutting the watermelon into chunks and removing any seeds. Place the chunks into a blender, adding a splash of your preferred liquid, such as coconut water, almond milk, or even just plain water, to help achieve a smooth consistency. For added richness and a protein boost, consider including a scoop of Greek yogurt or a handful of nuts. Enhance the flavor with a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice, which will bring out the sweetness of the watermelon and add a refreshing citrus note.

Blend all the ingredients until smooth, and if you desire a colder drink, toss in a few ice cubes or use frozen watermelon chunks. To sweeten your smoothie naturally, you can add honey, agave nectar, or a ripe banana, which will also contribute to a creamier texture. Pour the vibrant pink smoothie into glasses and garnish with a sprig of mint or a slice of lime for an extra touch of elegance. This simple and quick watermelon smoothie not only offers a delicious way to stay cool but also serves as a healthy snack or breakfast option that maximizes the use of leftover fruit.

10. Watermelon Jelly

Transforming leftover watermelon into a delightful jelly is a creative way to preserve the taste of summer. Begin by pureeing the watermelon flesh in a blender until smooth, then strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove any fibers and seeds, collecting the clear juice. Measure the juice and pour it into a large pot, adding an equal amount of sugar to ensure the jelly sets properly and has a balanced sweetness. For a firmer set and to help the jelly gel, mix in pectin according to the package instructions, which typically involves bringing the mixture to a full rolling boil before adding the pectin and boiling again for a minute.

Once the pectin is fully incorporated and the mixture has boiled, you can enhance the flavor with a squeeze of lemon juice, which adds a subtle tartness and helps activate the pectin. Remove the pot from the heat and skim off any foam that has formed on the surface for a clearer jelly. Carefully ladle the hot jelly into sterilized jars, leaving a small headspace at the top. Wipe the rims clean, seal with lids and rings, and process the jars in a boiling water bath to ensure they are shelf-stable. As the jars cool, you’ll hear the satisfying “pop” of the lids sealing. Once set, the watermelon jelly will have a beautiful, translucent color and a sweet, concentrated watermelon flavor, perfect for spreading on toast, swirling into yogurt, or serving as a unique topping for desserts. This homemade watermelon jelly not only extends the life of your leftover fruit but also brings a homemade touch to your pantry staples.

With these 10 ideas, you’ll never look at leftover watermelon the same way again. From sweet treats to savory dishes, watermelon’s versatility makes it a fantastic ingredient to experiment with in the kitchen. So next time you find yourself with an excess of this juicy fruit, try one (or several) of these suggestions and enjoy the flavors of summer in new and exciting ways.

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