Few fruits say summer like watermelon. Read on to get all you need to know about this juicy fruit!
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.
Nutritionally, watermelon is a low-calorie fruit that’s more than 90% water.
A ⅔ cup serving provides:
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.
While there are many types of watermelons, common ones you’re likely to come across at the grocery store include:
Regardless of the type of watermelon you choose, there are a few key tips for choosing a ripe watermelon.
First, watermelons should feel heavy for their size and be free of any dents or cuts. When the bottom of the watermelon (the slightly flat side) is thumped, it should sound hollow.
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 sliced watermelon, the texture becomes mushy, which isn’t a bad thing if you’re planning on adding it to frozen drinks, smoothies, or cold soups.
Besides being sliced up and eaten on its own, watermelon is a sweet, juicy addition to salads, salsas, cocktails 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, watermelon is 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.
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