Long, hot days strolling through street fairs, music festivals, city sidewalks, and farmer’s markets spark quite the appetite! Kids and adults alike are filling up on one of my personal favorite foods: watermelon – fresh, bright green, globes of heaven… tis the season! In today’s growing market, we welcome watermelon into our kitchens in so many ways. See how The Chopping Block’s Owner/Chef Shelley Young demonstrates selecting and cutting a fresh watermelon.
Looks easy, right? However, we often choose convenience first and pay the price to have our watermelon pre-cut, pre-sliced, pre-diced, pre-juiced, and even pre-seeded. Yes, it’s true that eating around those little buggers can be a pain. It often ruins the texture and appeal of that gorgeous red melon. But the seeds of a watermelon, like any other seed such as sunflower or pumpkin, are packed with nutrients! These heart healthy seeds work to boost immunity and keep blood sugar levels balanced. So treat them as you would other valuable foods in your diet. Almonds, for example, are an excellent source of fiber, protein, monounsaturated fats, and provide about one third of the recommended daily allowance for the antioxidant, vitamin E per one-ounce serving.
Believe it or not, watermelon seeds are also a great source of protein and healthy fats including omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 supports healthy blood pressure and cholesterol in the body. This seed also contains several B-vitamins like niacin, a micronutrient that is essential for maintaining the nervous system, digestive system, and skin health. Other minerals include magnesium, phosphorous, copper, iron, and zinc. Eating plain old watermelon is fine if you’re thirsty… made up of 90% water, this sweet summer treat is perfect for keeping your body hydrated and healthy. Let’s not forget about those wonderful seeds, though, now that you understand what they bring to the table!
The seeds of a watermelon can be eaten raw, if chewed very well. The tough shells are harder for the body to digest. To truly enjoy your seeds, it is recommended to dry or roast them first by separating the seeds from the flesh. Consuming seeds with the shell after roasting will have a texture similar to pumpkin seeds. Or remove the shell with your teeth like you would eat sunflower seeds. Either way you like it, a small handful or two of this wonderful snack is plenty to enjoy the nutritious benefits and more!
Use leftover melon for other recipes such as our Watermelon and Arugula Salad with Pickled Rind, frozen watermelon popsicles or even make sorbet with it. You might even add it to smoothies and shakes, or press your own fruit and vegetable juices. Did you know grilling your watermelon and other summer fruits create a delicious, sweet and smoky flavor? Join us on our Lincoln Square outdoor grilling patio for some of our upcoming hands-on grilling classes: