These 25+ amazing uses for watermelon will elevate your traditional summertime treat! Preserving watermelon is so easy with freezing, dehydrating, canning, pickling, and more!
Did you grow up having watermelon as a traditional summertime snack at picnics and baseball games?
But there's so much more to the experience of a ripe watermelon than just eating the triangles and spitting seeds as far as you can go!
25+ Ways to Use Watermelon
Ways to Preserve Watermelon
- Watermelon Jerky - aka dehydrated watermelon or watermelon taffy is one of my kids' favorites. Slightly chewy like taffy, fruit leathery to store, it's a perfect shelf-stable way to keep watermelon going well past harvest season! Sprinkle with a few finely minced mint leaves to flavor.
- Watermelon Fruit Leather
- Watermelon Rind Pickles
- Watermelon Jelly
- Watermelon Rind Kimchi
- Watermelon Ice - cut up in blocks or puree and freeze in cubes for use anytime of the year in drinks, smoothies, etc.
Ideas to Serve Watermelon
These fun uses for watermelon are for fresh, grilled, or even frozen watermelon for drinks, appetizers, main dishes, and dessert!
Appetizers and salads
- Watermelon Salsa - like the salad, watermelon salsa is not a specific recipe, but one that you can make your own! Experiment with flavors like jalapenos (smoked would be good, too!), grilled corn, onions, garlic, mint or cilantro, mangos, etc.!
- Watermelon Salad - there are so many ways to serve this salad that you can experiment for days and not get the same salad twice!d
To watermelon chunks add:
- Mint, feta cheese, and onions
- Honeydew, canteloupe, watermelon balls (or squares and make it a quilt grid!), sprinkled with feta and mint - a classic!
- Watermelon, balsamic vinegar, cucumber, and cojita cheese
- Lettuce greens, jalepeno, avocado, and sprouts
- And to add an even more robust flavor, grill the watermelon ahead of time!
- Add cubed cucumber, mint, and watermelon and mix with a poppyseed vinaigrette!
- Watermelon Gatzpacho
Main Dishes & the Grill
- Seared Watermelon Steak
- Roasted Watermelon Rind Parmesan
- Watermelon Bruschetta
- Watermelon BBQ Sauce! - imagine this on ribs or chicken on the grill with a watermelon salad and watermelon cocktails for an adult picnic!
- Watermelon Kabobs: Watermelon bites, bundles of prosciutto or bacon, chunks of Havarti cheese, a mint leaf, drizzled in a balsamic glaze
- Grilled Watermelon - spears or triangles grilled over a low flame. You can brush on a mixture of flavorings like brown sugar, lime, and cumin or salt, chili powder, and brown sugar.
- Watermelon Chicken - instead of plopping a chicken onto a beer can, form a bowl from half a watermelon, and place your chicken inside to grill and smoke it.
- Watermelon Popsicles - I've been serving watermelon popsicles to my family for years. It's a quick and easy project to do with some fun popsicle molds or freezer tubes, and flavor combinations to use up leftover watermelon.
- Watermelon Cupcakes - not just cute little watermelon 'looking' cupcakes, but flavored watermelon cupcakes and icing!
- Watermelon Frosty - yes, it's a thing!
- Watermelon Ice - puree watermelon and pour into a long container. Scrape the watermelon with a spoon to create refreshing watermelon ice (You can pour it into ice cubes, freeze, and then use those ice cubes in a snow cone maker to do the same thing!). Mix in some mint to up the flavor profile, or add a little vodka to make an adult version.
- Watermelon Flavored Snow-Cone syrup. Simply whiz this up in the blender or food processor and mix with sugar to make an awesome snow cone treat (and there are even more ideas for snow cone syrups in this post!)
- No-churn watermelon ice cream
- Watermelon Sorbet
- Watermelon Shots (do this with or without the alcohol)
- Watermelon Lemonade
- Fizzy Watermelon - puree watermelon and mix with a little seltzer water!
- Blend it for juice - you may want to strain it if you're not a fan of pulp, but cold watermelon juice is VERY refreshing.
- Frozen Watermelon Margaritas
- Boozy Watermelon Slushes
- Watermelon Kombucha
On the Homestead
Finding other ways to use food that aren't something we immediately intake is not a waste of the food. Everything that goes back into our food source to nourish the next crop is extra nutrition for us.
- Feeding frozen watermelon or even sliced watermelon to your chickens, pigs, ducks, goats, cows, etc during the hot summer will help cool them off
- Compost - yes, you can compost the rind or the flesh if you just have too much to deal with!
More information on Growing and Harvesting Watermelons
Pick a watermelon that feels really heavy for its size and is a good rich color. Expect to find a patchy area where it is yellow/brownish. This is fine - it's where it was allowed to ripen on the ground instead of being picked early
Growing watermelon is great for hot climates, and here are some tips from Simply Canning on growing watermelon
A whole watermelon can last for a week or two in the fridge. The more you cut the watermelon, the faster it begins to break down. So cut within only a few days of serving for the best texture you can serve!