There are more than 50 shapes, colors, and sizes, which are generally divided into “picnic” and “icebox” varieties. Picnics usually weigh 15 to 50 pounds while icebox varieties weigh between five and fifteen pounds to fit into a refrigerator. Most watermelons have the familiar red flesh, but there are also orange and yellow-fleshed varieties, as well as some that are seedless. There is little taste difference among the varieties.
Few people can agree on just how to pick a ripe watermelon. Some say that it should have a skin that is dull and slightly waxy, with ends that are not pointy, but rounded and well filled out, heavy for its size, with a bottom that is pale, creamy yellow and not white. Others swear by the thumping method, looking for a deep, hollow sound rather than a dull thud. Another method is to look for a melon with a dry, brown stem, and then scrape the rind with a fingernail; when the green skin comes off easily, the melon is deemed ready to eat. When the melon is cut, your job is much easier. The best cut watermelons have bright, red flesh with dark brown or back seeds. Avoid melons with white streaks or that have deeply colored, mealy areas around the seeds.
Watermelon is used as a cooling food in hot weather to quench thirst and also to relieve mental depression. Because it contains so much water and thus an excellent cleanser and detoxifier for the whole body, it is popular with dieters. It has the greatest dissolving power of inorganic minerals in the body of all the fruits and vegetables. Surprisingly, it has only half the sugar, 5 percent, of an apple, but tastes much sweeter because sugar is its main flavor-producing element.
It is one of nature’s safest and most dependable diuretics and has a remarkable ability to quickly and completely wash out the bladder. The white rind of the watermelon is one of the highest organic sodium foods in nature, and the outside peel is one of the best sources of chlorophyll. The rind can be juiced and drunk or it can be eaten. The rind makes a tasty old-fashioned pickle. Fully ripe seeds are edible and quite tasty, so the entire melon is usable and nutritious.
A good way to get all the goodness of the watermelon flesh, rind and seeds it to put large chunks of peeled watermelon in the Vita-Mix or other high-speed blender until all the seeds are pulverized and blended with the flesh and white rind. This makes an absolutely delicious cooling smoothie that is a delight to consume.
A refreshing salad can be easily made my cutting up small, bite-sized chunks and combining that with some fresh arugula, a squeeze of lemon juice, a sprinkle of Himalayan salt and a drizzle of organic olive oil.
Freeze some watermelon balls, easily made with a small watermelon baller scoop, and serve these to kids instead of sugary popsicles. Any way you eat watermelon, you are sure to enjoy the experience and get the benefits of a mineral-rich treat. Refresh yourself this summer with delicious, nutritious watermelon.
Watermelon Cucumber Salad2 cups cucumber 2 cups watermelon ½ cup sweet onion ½ cup fresh mint 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice 1 Tbsp olive oil Sprinkle Himalayan salt Dash of pepper
Chop the cucumber, watermelon, onion and mint. Combine with the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss together.
Brenda Cobb is author of The Living Foods Lifestyle and founder of the Living Foods Institute, an Educational Center and Therapy Spa in Atlanta offering Healthy Lifestyle courses on nutrition, cleansing, healing, anti-aging, detoxification, relaxation and cleansing therapies. For more information, call 404-524-4488 or 1-800-844-9876 and visit LivingFoodsInstitute.com.