Meet Your Ingredients: Watermelon

Meet Your Ingredients: Watermelon

Few fruits say summer like watermelon. Read on to get all you need to know about this juicy fruit! 

About Watermelon

Originally from Africa, the first recorded mention of watermelon was in ancient Egypt nearly 5,000 years ago. 

Watermelons are actually related to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash and are the most widely consumed melons in the United States. 

While many of us only each the juicy flesh, watermelon seeds are rich in minerals while the rind contains L-citrulline, an amino acid that’s been studied for its role in reducing blood pressure and improving athletic performance. 

Nutritional benefits of watermelon

Nutritionally, watermelon is a low-calorie fruit that’s more than 90% water.

A ⅔ cup serving provides: 

  • 30 calories
  • <0.5 grams of fat 
  • 0.6 grams of protein
  • 8 grams of carb
  • <0.5 grams of fiber
  • 6 grams of sugar 

Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C, as well as contains smaller amounts of potassium, copper, and vitamin A.

Remember lycopene from the tomato guides?

Well it turns out that watermelon is actually a better source of lycopene than tomatoes – and yellow watermelon especially is rich in this antioxidant. 

For a quick review, lycopene is an antioxidant that plays a role in heart health and protection against skin cancer. 

How to select watermelons

While there are many types of watermelons, common ones you’re likely to come across at the grocery store include: 

  • Seedless: while you won’t find any black seeds, seedless still have small white seeds, which are perfectly safe to eat. 
  • Picnic: these are your standard large watermelons with black seeds, red flesh, and green rind. They are large in size and can be round or oblong. 
  • Icebox: also called personal watermelons, these are small, round watermelons that are the perfect amount when you don’t have a crowd to feed (or the fridge space). 
  • Yellow (or orange): my personal favorite, these watermelons have a green rind, but are yellow or orange inside. Taste-wise they tend to be sweeter than picnic watermelons. 

Regardless of the type you choose, there are a few key tips for choosing a ripe watermelon:

  • should feel heavy for their size
  • free of dents or cuts
  • bottom of the melon (the slightly flat side) should sound hallow when thumped

How to store watermelons

Whole, uncut watermelons will keep for up to 2 weeks at room temperature. 

Once cut, wrap watermelon with plastic wrap or slice and place in a sealable container. Store in the fridge for up to three to five days. 

While you can also freeze the slices, the texture becomes mushy, which isn’t a bad thing if you’re planning on adding it to frozen drinks, smoothies, or cold soups. 

How to use watermelon in cooking and baking

Besides being sliced up and eaten on its own, watermelon is a sweet, juicy addition to salads, salsas, cocktails or mocktails, and smoothies.

Grilled, it can be squeezed with lime juice for dessert or sprinkled with cayenne pepper and salt for a sweet and savory side dish

Speaking of dessert, it’s also delicious made into popsicles and granitas to help you stay cool during the summer. 

Due to it’s high water content, watermelon isn’t usually used in baking.

However, to give your baked treats a hint of watermelon you can boil it down into a simple syrup, add watermelon juice to frosting, or use it to make a curd or jam to spread between cake layers. 

Meet Your Ingredients: Watermelon

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About Kelli McGrane Headshot

I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

About Kelli McGrane Headshot

Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

Here you’ll find realistic healthy recipes designed by a registered dietitian with your busy lifestyle in mind.

Whether you’re a busy professional or new mom, the goal of The Healthy Toast is to provide you with the recipes and nutrition info you need to live your healthiest life, even when life gets crazy. As I’m a firm believer in a whole-foods, non-diet approach, I hope my website shows that good nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. 

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