Season for Watermelon May – September

Watermelon Described

We all have wonderful childhood memories of watermelon juice dripping down our chins as we quench the heat of a warm summer day. And, unlike most memories, we get to relive this one again and again with equal measure. Aptly named, watermelon is made up of approximately 92% water, making it oh-so-perfect for satiating both thirst and the never-ending sweet-tooth. Protruding from vines that grow on the ground, watermelon fruit is loosely considered a type of melon and related to squash, cantaloupe and pumpkin. It has a smooth rind that can be green, yellow and sometimes white in color with juicy, sweet flesh that we most commonly find in pink, but can actually sometimes be orange, yellow or white.

How to Buy and Store Watermelon

Ideally you want to select watermelon for its deeply-colored flesh sans any white streaking, as it will be the sweetest and healthiest. But, we are often not privy to a watermelon’s insides before buying (unless you go to the farmers market where they will often have taste tests). When choosing a whole watermelon, go for one that is heavy for its size with a rind that is relatively smooth and healthy looking (although some of them are waxed to look better than they actually are). Make sure your watermelon has one side with a creamy patch where the fruit ripened on the ground. If it doesn’t have this, that probably means it was picked before its prime. Once you cut your watermelon, it should be wrapped tightly and refrigerated, and you should have no problem eating it within a few days.

How to Cook Watermelon

Since watermelons can be huge, you can wash them with a wet cloth (or paper towel if you’re still using them). There’s no right or wrong way to cut a watermelon – it’s simply a matter of preference and may depend upon its size. The flesh can be sliced, cubed or scooped into balls. Watermelon is simply delicious to eat as is, on its own. It also makes an excellent addition to a fruit salad. You may even want to experiment with making jam, sorbet, smoothies and juices from your mouthwatering watermelon. While not particularly common, some people eat both the seeds and the rind, because indeed they are edible. The seeds can be toasted and eaten as you would pumpkin seeds. 

Health Benefits of Watermelon

The bright pink and often deeper fuschia associated with a watermelon’s flesh give it some super healthy properties that make this a worthy contender among your dessert and snack options. While tomatoes have been highly touted as a great source for lycopene (owing to their color), watermelon actually has the highest concentration of lycopene among any fresh fruit or vegetable. And this phytonutrient has been found to be a powerful antioxidant that helps fight heart disease and several types of cancer. Watermelon is also an excellent source of vitamins A, vitamin C and B6, all of which combine to help maintain eye and brain health, strengthen immunity, heal wounds, prevent cell damage, promote healthy teeth and gums… among other benefits!

Why Buy Natural and Organic Watermelon

While watermelons are considered to be among the safer fruits when eaten conventionally, the juicy flesh being protected by the thick rind, 28 pesticide residues were found by the USDA Pesticide Data Program on this beloved of fruits. A thorough washing of the outside can certainly help wash away some of those pesticides, but keep in mind that no amount of washing can completely rid your conventional fruit and veggies of chemicals. Pesticides are likely to infiltrate the whole of the fruit, going into the soil and up through the roots of the plant. Your fool proof method? Why, purchase your watermelon organically, of course.