With temperatures cooling and cravings leaning toward comforting flavors, fall offers a perfect time for families to explore adventurous twists on favorite foods. As you and your loved ones rework the menu for autumn, turn to versatile ingredients that provide fresh tastes and new ways to enjoy classic recipes.

One star ingredient that can be used for appetizers, main courses, sides, snacks, and desserts alike is watermelon. Using the entire watermelon (rind included) means you’ve discovered a sustainable way to create nutritious meals without food waste.

Consider these simple, delicious ways to use the entire watermelon in your kitchen.

Watermelon Flesh

In the fall, whole watermelon is still available in many areas. You can also find mini watermelons in the fresh-cut produce section at many local grocers. The flesh is often the watermelon’s favorite (and most-used) part. Served on its own as a hydrating snack or as part of a recipe for tasty entrees, the flesh offers something for nearly every appetite, so no watermelon goes to waste.

Watermelon Juice

Watermelon is 92% water, making it a sweet choice for staying hydrated. Even if your watermelon is overripe, don’t throw it out – instead, juice or puree it to retain value and nutrition. Use it to sweeten this Watermelon Bourbon Glaze, drizzle over a perfectly grilled flank steak, and serve with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables for an ideal fall meal.

Watermelon Rind

The rind is often thrown out – many people don’t realize you can eat it. The rind absorbs the flavors added to it and adds an unexpected texture to this Watermelon Walnut Currant Chutney. Try serving over brie with crackers or dip with naan or baguettes.

Find more flavorful fall solutions to avoid food waste at Watermelon.org.

Watermelon Bourbon Glaze with Grilled Flank Steak

Servings: 6

  • 1 1/2 cups watermelon juice (approximately 2 1/2 cups chopped watermelon, blended)
  • tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/4-1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 pounds flank steak or London broil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce watermelon juice to 2/3 cup. Toward the end of the reduction, add garlic. Remove from heat, cool for 10 minutes, then add soy sauce, brown sugar, hot sauce, and bourbon. Mix well.

Place watermelon-bourbon glaze in a large zip-top bag. Add steak and massage to cover the meat. Close the bag and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

Heat the grill to high heat. Remove steak from plastic bag and gently shake to remove excess glaze.

Grill steak for 4-6 minutes; turn the grill for 4-6 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steak. Remove from heat. The steak should be pink in the center.

Allow steak to rest on a platter or cutting board for 10 minutes.

Mix a small amount of watermelon-bourbon glaze with cornstarch. Add the cornstarch mixture to the remaining glaze in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Reduce to medium heat until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat.

Cut flank steak on bias into thin strips. Drizzle watermelon-bourbon glaze over top.

Watermelon Walnut Currant Chutney

Servings: 16

  • 4 cups watermelon, juiced
  • 2 cups watermelon rind (white part), diced small
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 medium white onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 2 tablespoons currants
  • 2 tablespoons roasted walnuts
  • 1 wheel brie cheese for serving
  • crackers for serving

In a saucepan over medium heat, reduce watermelon juice to 2 cups. Combine with watermelon rind, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, white onion, garlic, nutmeg, cloves, lemon zest, lemon juice, currants, and walnuts; simmer until almost dry.

Chill and serve over brie with crackers.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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