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Shop the Sale: Wonderful Watermelons

Most summers, I end up eating my weight in watermelons. Not that that is a bad thing _ watermelon is the perfect dessert or snack when it’s so hot you don’t want to move, it’s loaded with antioxidants, and because it’s mostly water, it’s practically negative-calories.

Let’s review a few things you may not know about this fruit.

To thump or not to thump? Maybe if you’ve picked out a bunch of watermelons in your day, thumping is a good way to choose a ripe one. Supposedly, if you flick a ripe watermelon with your thumb, it will give off a hollow sound, meaning it’s ready to eat. For most of us, however, it’s hard to interpret that sound. Instead you can just look over the melon carefully. If the green stripe is dark green and shiny, and you can’t clearly see veins, it’s good and ripe. Also, choose a melon that is heavy for its size, without any bruises, cuts or dents. One side also should have a creamy yellow spot from sitting in the patch, ripening.

Good for you: Because it’s mostly water and relatively low in sugar for fruit, watermelon is low in calories, with just 80 calories in two cups. Watermelon also has high concentrations of lycopene, the same antioxidant found in tomatoes, which has been linked to reducing risk of cancer and heart disease.

A square melon? Have you ever seen a picture of a square watermelon? It wasn’t done in Photoshop. Japanese farmers have developed real square melons, by growing them in boxes. They taste the same, but are easier to store, stack, and ship.

Now that’s a big melon: Most watermelons you’ll find in the super market are under 40 pounds, and you can now even buy personal watermelons, which are usually under 5 pounds, or about the size of a big cantaloupe. But given time and the right pedigree, watermelons can get humongous. The title of world’s largest watermelon goes to a melon grown in Hope, Ark. It weighed in at 268.8 pounds.

The whole enchilada _err, melon: The entire watermelon is edible. You can roast the seeds, and the rind can be pickled, or turned into relish.

Think beyond the slice: Of course, many people think the only way to eat watermelon is by the slice. But their mild flavor is so versatile that they are great additions to salsa, salads, sauces and smoothies. Expand your watermelon repertoire with this refreshing salad, bursting with summer flavor:

Cherry Tomato and Watermelon Salad

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