@ The Farmers Markets

What could be better on a hot day than biting into an icy cold melon?

Lots of watermelons are still available at local farmers markets.

Besides tasting good, watermelon helps keep you hydrated, is fat- and cholesterol-free, low in sodium and packed with lycopene and vitamins A, B6 and C.

The National Watermelon Promotion Board says watermelons also are a good source of potassium, thiamin and magnesium.

Look for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents. It should be heavy for its size. The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.

Like other fruits and vegetables, it is best to wash melons in clean running water before cutting into them. Be sure to use clean knives and cutting surfaces.

Melons are versatile. Besides eating them fresh cut, try them in salads, drinks, desserts and sauces.