By BRENDA LUCAS

For HD Media

Watermelon, an exceptionally round or oval healthy fruit, is plentiful in area grocery stores, farmers' markets and supermarkets. It's sweet, delicious, low in calories, very refreshing and packed with water, which is helpful for maintaining good hydration.

The juicy melon consists mainly of water. In fact, there is 91 % water in one watermelon and 7.5 % carbs. Two-thirds cup of the raw fruit contains 30 calories, as well as a good amount of potassium, copper, magnesium, vitamins B-6, B5 and A, and other vitamins and minerals. According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, the fruit is also a good source of fiber and vitamin C.

These recipes are from Kraft Foods:

SPINACH SALAD WITH BACON AND WATERMELON

1 (6-ounce) package baby spinach leaves

6 cups watermelon, cut up in 1-inch balls

10 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

1/2 cup slivered red onions

1/2 cup buttermilk ranch dressing

Combine all ingredients except dressing. Spoon onto platter. Drizzle with dressing just before serving.

WATERMELON SALAD POPS

1 watermelon slice

1/4 cup olive oil vinaigrette - raspberry

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon lime zest

Dash ground red pepper (cayenne)

Cut watermelon into 6 wedges, then cut small slit into rind side of each wedge. Insert wooden pop stick into each slit for handle. Place in single layer on plastic wrap-covered rimmed baking sheet.

Use toothpick or thin wooden skewer to poke a few small holes in flesh of each watermelon slice; drizzle evenly with vinaigrette.

Refrigerate 45 minutes.

Combine remaining ingredients; sprinkle over watermelon before serving.

This recipe is from Good Housekeeping:

GRILLED CHICKEN

WATERMELON TACOS

2 cups chopped seedless watermelon

1 jalapeno, minced

1/2 small red onion, minced

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pound sliced grilled chicken

1/2 cup crumbled Cotija cheese

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

Toss first six ingredients Serve on warmed corn tortillas with chicken and crumbled Cotija cheese.

MEXICAN FRUIT

SALAD DRESSING:

2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup or agave nectar)

3 tablespoons lime juice

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 to 3/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder (use more or less to taste)

SALAD:

2 1/2 cups honeydew, diced

3 cups watermelon, diced

3 cups cantaloupe, diced

2 1/2 cups pineapple, diced

1 1/2 cups mangoes, diced

Dressing: In small bowl, combine honey, lime juice, salt and ancho chili powder to taste. Add additional sweetener if you want sweeter or another pinch of salt if you want a little saltier. Set aside.

Assembly: In large bowl, combine fruit until thoroughly mixed. Dress salad with as much or as little of dressing as you like. Add additional chili powder to taste if desired.

It can also be used in salads, smoothies, soups or other recipes, such as these from Taste of Home:

GRILLED WATERMELON GAZPACHO

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/4 seedless watermelon, cut into three 1 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 large beefsteak tomato, halved

1/2 English cucumber, peeled and halved lengthwise

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and halved lengthwise

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons diced red onion, divided

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 small avocado,

peeled and diced

Brush 1 tablespoon oil over watermelon, tomato, cucumber and jalapeno; grill, covered, over medium-high direct heat until seared, 5-6 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, reserving one watermelon slice for garnish. Remove rind from remaining watermelon slices; cut flesh into chunks. Remove skin and seeds from tomato and jalapeno; chop. Coarsely chop cucumber. Combine grilled vegetables; add 1/4 cup onion, vinegar, lime juice and seasonings. Process in batches in blender until smooth, adding remaining oil during final batch. If desired, strain soup; adjust seasonings as needed. Refrigerate. To serve, pour gazpacho into bowls or glasses. Top with diced avocado and remaining onion. Cut reserved watermelon slice into wedges.

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