Summer Produce Guide: Watermelon

Tips for buying, storing, and cooking watermelons, plus our favorite watermelon recipes.

Restorative and refreshing, watermelons belong to a family of vines that include cucumbers, gourds, and other melons. The fruit is thought to be native to Africa, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years; in the U.S., hundreds of varieties are grown, and can vary tremendously in size and shape, with flesh ranging in color from canary yellow to deep red. The entire fruit is edible: The seeds can be roasted and eaten as a snack, the rind can be pickled, the sweet flesh lends itself to sweet and savory preparations alike, though it's also delicious on its own eaten out of hand. Watermelons are in season from May to September, and at their peak from mid-June to late August.

  • HOW TO BUY

    Look for smooth, symmetrical melons with no flat sides, bruises, cuts, or dents. A dull, hollow sound when you tap the melon signals that it’s ripe.

  • HOW TO STORE

    Store whole and cut watermelons in the refrigerator; wrap cut watermelon tightly in saran wrap before refrigerating.

  • HOW TO PREPARE

    Slice the melon into quarters and cut away the rind before cutting the flesh as desired.

Watermelon Recipes