There isn’t a fruit that reminds me more of summer than watermelon. I love enjoying a juicy, cool, fresh slice of watermelon on a hot summer’s day. Did you know that watermelon was first cultivated in southern Africa? This was due to its high water content. Watermelon is 92% water, which is why it feels so refreshing on a hot summer’s day.
According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPD), watermelon is the most consumed melon by weight in the United States, followed by cantaloupe and honeydew. Due to it’s sweet taste and the way it can quench your thirst, it makes sense that is the most consumed melon, and why most of the United States loves it.
Seeds of Watermelon
Watermelon is in the cucurbit family along with cucumbers, cantaloupe, and pumpkins. There are more than 300 varieties of watermelon, yet you probably only see one in the grocery store. The two other common types are yellow and orange varieties, which tend to be sweeter than the red-fleshed watermelon.
The fruits in this family are called “pepo” and have thick rinds with fleshy centers. The seeds in watermelon start out white and mature into the black seeds you’re most familiar with. Seedless watermelon may look like they have tiny white seeds but those are just sterile seed casings. All watermelon seeds are edible, but should be chewed to get to the nutrients inside and to avoid intestinal issues.
Watermelon is not only a great way to get in your water for the day, it’s also packed full of antioxidants and vitamins. Watermelon contains an abundant amount of the phytochemical lycopene, which is an antioxidant found in red fruits and vegetables. Lycopene destroys free radicals, which are chemicals that can damage the cells in your body. By stopping this damage, lycopene may help prevent heart disease and some types of cancers, as well as lowering your triglyceride levels.
Watermelon is also high in:
- Vitamin A, which helps keeps your eyes in tip-top shape.
- Vitamin B6, which helps your immune system strong.
- Vitamin C, which keeps your skin healthy and may help boost immunity.
5 Watermelon Treats
If you’ve ever been to a summer picnic, you know the most common way to serve watermelon is sliced but there are many creative ways you can enjoy this fun fruit.
Here are 5 different ways you can incorporate watermelon into meals.
- Dice the watermelon into a fruit salad.
- Chop the melon up and make it into a sweet and savory salsa with jalapenos, corn, and black beans.
- Blend it with other fruits and Greek yogurt into a smoothie.
- Freeze it for summer-fun ice pops for the kids, or you!
- Grill watermelon, peaches, and pineapple on a skewer for 2-3 minutes and drizzle with some honey for a delicious, smoky treat.
Here’s something to keep in mind when picking out your watermelon at the grocery store. Look for one that is oval and symmetrical with a creamy, yellow spot on the underside of the melon. This spot indicates the melon had good sun exposure and ensures a sweet, ripened fruit.
Be adventurous when it comes to eating watermelon. It is in peak season now, so grab one during your next trip to the store. Any way you slice it, watermelon is a delicious, nutrient-packed summertime staple!
Your Turn to Take Action: Over the next week, try and find a new way to incorporate watermelon into your day. Let me know what you try in the comments below!