Have a melon ball

There are millions of peculiar uses for watermelon, and Heidi McIntyre has heard every one. As marketing director for the Orlando-based National Watermelon Promotion Board, she has spoken to thousands of watermelon farmers and connoisseurs.

One of the most bizarre uses for watermelon revolves around a jar of Vaseline, a swimming pool and a blindfold. "It's a kids' game," explains McIntyre. "You grease the watermelon and all swim around the pool, trying to catch it." This might be worth a try at the next staff meeting.

People have made watermelons into Halloween masks, door stops and even lamps. Just a little shellac makes the rind as hard as a rock.

"People give me a lot of recipes, too," explains McIntyre. "Some sound great. Others, well, I don't know." There's watermelon and shrimp salad, watermelon ham wraps and watermelon gazpacho. A watermelon barbecue sauce is allegedly good on pork and fish, though don't take our word for it. In case you're wondering, the ingredients include watermelon, Dijon mustard, vinegar and soy sauce.

The board maintains a website with recipes, puzzles, finger puppets and a coloring book that chronicles the adventures of Thumper the Watermelon.

Watermelon is the second-best-selling fruit in America during the summer. Some settle for round melons with white seeds, though purists prefer oblong-shaped ones with black seeds. After all, the black seeds are aerodynamically correct for seed-spitting contests.

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