Eating The Whole Watermelon
Using all Parts of the Watermelon
We are all familiar with the delicious red sweet part of the watermelon. Well, lets not forget about the rest of this wonderful fruit. It would be wasteful not to utilize all the parts. The rind and the seeds are also edible. There are many recipes from different parts of the world including the southern United States describing ways they can be used as a nutritional and tasty food source. Much of it could be wasted if only the red meat is used.
Eating Watermelon Rind and Seed
The term rind usually refers to the skin or peel of a fruit. In recipes you will see the term rind meaning the outer hard green skin and the white pulp of a watermelon. The recipes will give instructions to cut away the hard outer green part. The recipes mostly use the inner white part for consumption. I have found a couple of recipes for the outer green part also, but not many. People do juice the outer green skin with the rest of the fruit to get the benefits.
It is usually considered a low pesticide fruit because of the hard skin and thick white part. It is harder for pesticides to make it inside. The white rind is still protected by the thick skin. I would suggest you buy organic if you are going to tackle the outside skin.
It is a good idea to rinse the with water or a produce wash the outer skin of the watermelon. You then use a food brush. You can get a store bought wash or make it yourself. One recipe consists of vinegar and water. There are different dilutions you can use. You put 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar and a pint of water in a spray bottle. Then scrub with a vegetable brush thoroughly before cutting into it. Dirt, microbes and bacterias like salmonella and E-coli can get on the knife from the outside of the melon and contaminate the inside. The watermelon skin is tough and smooth which makes it easier to work on. It is a personal choice to buy the already cut watermelon, but you need to be concerned if it has even been washed much less scrubbed before it was cut. Or has it gotten contaminated while sitting there in the open without its skin to protect it. They sell in many stores petite or personal watermelons in case the normal sized one is too large for you instead of buying a cut one.
As we all know, the inner red part is very sweet when ripe. The whitish rind when eaten raw has a bland taste and not as soft as the meaty part. It can be juiced or put in a blender mixed with other fruits like apples and pears, and also mixed with yogurt for a smoothie or a frozen slushy.
The seeds can be salted, baked and eaten as a snack. You can grind them up into a flour. A paste can be made and used as a thickener in stews, sauces and soups. The watermelon seeds can be mixed with other flour in baked goods. They can be crushed, with boiling water poured over it and made into a tea. Ground up melon seeds are also used in the traditional version of horchata de melon, if you don't like the consistency you can strain the liquid.
When you juice your watermelon you can juice the rind, seed, flesh and even the outer green skin to get the whole compliment of nutrients this melon has to offer. It is said that the outer green skin is full of chlorophyll.
Washing your watermelon
Do you wash your watermelon before cutting it?
The Ick Factor
waste not want not
When I was in college I took a course about cultural foods. One of our assignments was to write a paper about the diets of a specific country. Now all countries have many diets and foods depending on what area you are writing about. I wrote my paper about the foods that due to culture, tradition or misunderstanding were not being eaten. I am not talking about tasteless famine foods but nutritious fruits and vegetable that grew wild and were never cultivated. People didn't consume these particular food items and sometimes had an ick factor attached to them. They used them as animal feed or green manure. Certain food was considered symbols of lower status or that the food was not good for them. This same product might have been eaten regularly and happily by a neighboring group.
Each group had their reasons as to why. Sometimes they looked down on particular foods and made fun of the people who included them in their diet. None of this had anything to do with nutritional value. Imported foods were considered superior to foods that were native to the area. Some foods had been eaten in previous generations but went out of favor. What then happened was the knowledge of the foods was lost. They no longer knew what they were and how to utilize them as food. They also started buying imported foods that were less nutritious and more expensive.
While I was doing my paper I had to realize that my family didn't eat all the different varieties of food that we could. And that we ate foods our neighbors didn't. I have neighbors now who forage for nuts that fall from the trees and pick wild vegetables like the plantain and dandelion greens and I don't live in a rural area.
The Whole Watermelon
The watermelon is a very versatile food source. The flesh can be eaten raw as a fruit and the rind can be fried and cooked like a vegetable. The watermelon seed can be eaten as a salty snack or stuck on sweetened deserts. Cooks grind the seeds and use like regular flour and melon seed paste. They can also be the ingredients for hot and cold drinks.
As I understand some places they classify the whole watermelon as a vegetable, others as a fruit. Either way not only the red or yellow meaty part can be eaten. The rind and seeds are edible and should be a part of our food source. Obviously since there are recipes, someone is using them as food, but I believe more people should be introduced to the full usage of the watermelon. In some places in Africa they even cook the leaves and add them to their meals or use it as medicine. I believe it is a shame to throw out good food
The Nutritious Rind
The watermelon rind contains less sugar and water than the flesh and more fiber. This gives it the heavier consistency and a less sweet taste. Whereas the red flesh has the antioxidant lycopene the white rind has a higher concentration of the amino acid citrulline in it. This is converted to another amino acid arginine which is the precursor for nitric oxide. This will help with blood vessel dilation. Also in the rind is potassium and some vitamin C and B.
Sliced Watermelon - Is it safe?
Do you buy pre sliced watermelon from supermarket?
Videos on Watermelon- Red, White, Green and black
Watermelon seeds are a source of protein, potassium, magnesium,calcium, iron, zinc and B vitamins among others. If eaten by accident and just swallowed without chewing you won't get the benefit. You need to chew it raw or preferably eat it after it is baked as a snack or ground into a flour and made into a tasty dish. The ground seeds can also be used as an exfoliate for the skin.