Watermelon: Fruit or a Vegetable?

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watermelonWatermelon is my favorite summertime snack, especially when Texas temperatures soar past 100 degrees F. The refreshing sweetness makes me happy all day long. I add it to salads, to drinks, and anywhere else I can!

Did you know a watermelon is actually  a vegetable but normally considered a fruit?  It is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family with – you guessed it – cucumber, as well as squash and pumpkin.

We all know a good picnic rarely exists without watermelon! Its sweet juicy red flesh contains plenty of nutrients.It contains a hefty dose of vitamin C – 21% of the daily recommended value – which helps your immune system produce antibodies to fight disease. A 17% daliy value of vitamin A is also present, boosting eye health. A smaller amount of vitamin B6 found in watermelon helps form red blood cells and enables nerves to function as they should. Potassium, which helps balance fluids in cells, is also present in small amounts.

The antioxidant lycopene, good for heart and bone health, is the star player in watermelon. One of the natural chemicals in watermelons is citrulline, which converts in the kidneys to arginine, an amino acid that works hard for heart health and maintaining a good immune system.

An amazing fact about watermelons is the antioxidants, flavonoids, and lycopene can remain for seven days after cutting. This summertime treat is fat free and low in calories as it is comprised of 90% water and 8% natural sugar. Watermelons are completely edible including the rind and seeds with similar amounts of nutrients throughout and not concentrated in the darker red center as some people believe. In fact, the white rind, which isn’t normally eaten, has some of the highest nutrient concentrations.

Watermelon stores very well at room temperature, but should be refrigerated after cutting. An amazing fact about watermelons is that its antioxidants, flavonoids, and lycopene content can remain for as long as seven days.

I love to make watermelon sorbet with my kids. Below is my recipe.

Watermelon Sorbet

Ingredients

3 cups water
1 cup sugar
4 cups seeded, chopped watermelon
1/4 cup lime juice

How to Make It

  1. Bring 3 cups water and sugar just to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Cool.
  2. Process sugar syrup (from step 1) and watermelon, in batches, in a blender until smooth. Stir in lime juice. Cover and chill 2 hours.
  3.  Pour mixture into the freezer container of a 1-gallon ice-cream maker, and freeze. When frozen, ENJOY!

 

Do you have a favorite watermelon recipe?

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