There are so many reasons why I love summer. One of them just happens to be the availability of really good watermelon in our local markets. And because I like it so much, I enjoy it several times a day. Usually I just go for a slice, but there are many amazing ways to enjoy watermelon. And, the best part is that it is a guilt-free indulgence—only 43 calories per cup!
Watermelon is 92 percent water. However, every juicy bite is soaked with nutrients such as Vitamins A, B6, and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids. According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, watermelon contains more lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable. Lycopene is the pigment that gives tomatoes, watermelons, and pink grapefruits their red color and is known for its role in preventing disease.
There are four basic types of watermelon: seedless, picnic, icebox, and yellow/orange fleshed. If you’d like to know more about the various types, check out this article by Gardening Know How. Choosing a good watermelon is simple. Look for a watermelon that is firm, heavy, and symmetrical with a creamy, yellow spot on the underside where it lay on the ground and ripen in the sun. It should be free of bruises, cuts, dents or soft spots. Tap the outside and listen for a light and almost hollow sounding thud; this indicates that the water and fruit are intact and has a stable structure.
I struggled for many years on finding the best way to cut a watermelon, especially years back when watermelons were huge and hardly fit into the refrigerator. Today, watermelon producers are giving us watermelons of a more handle able size and the internet has provided me with new resources. After trying several methods, I’ve adopted peeling the rind as shown in this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D68Lck4Y5Ig
There is a multitude of ways beyond the summertime slices or afternoon picnics to enjoy watermelon. Consider smoothies, grilling, salsa, salad, pops, cupcakes, banana splits, kebabs, and parfaits for starters. The Watermelon Board has lots of recipe ideas and creative ways to include watermelon in just about any diet. To get the maximum absorption of lycopene, add a little fat to the meal when watermelon is on the menu. For example, a small amount of olive oil, avocado, nuts, or fatty seafood boots lycopene absorption more than four-fold. Also, consider roasting the seeds from a seeded watermelon. Even the rind can be used to make a chutney, slaw, or pickles.
So what about watermelon? Indulge! Watermelon is healthy and delicious every day. Rich in nutrients, you can fill up without filling out!