All About Watermelon!
For lots of great watermelon recipes, check out watermelon.org
Selecting the perfect watermelon is as easy as 1, 2, 3!
- Look the watermelon over. You are looking for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents.
- Lift it up. The watermelon should be heavy for its size. Watermelon is 92% water; most of the weight is water.
- Turn it over. The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.
PREPARATION AND STORAGE TIPS:
- Wash watermelon in clean, running water.
- Use clean knives and cutting surfaces.
- Watermelon can be stored *uncut at room temperature for 7-10 days.
- Once cut, watermelon can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in a plastic container or plastic wrap.
- Because watermelon is 92% water, it freezes well.
- Watermelon is 92% water and an excellent hydrator. Water plays a vital role in regulating body temperature, transporting nutrients and oxygen to cells, removing waste, cushioning joints and protecting organs and tissues.
- Watermelon is low in calories and fat and is cholesterol-free.
- Watermelon contains high levels of the antioxidant lycopene – a 300 g (2 cup) serving of watermelon contains 18.16 mg. Proponents claim that lycopene may lower the risk of heart disease; macular degenerative disease, an age-related illness that can lead to blindness; and lipid oxidation, the damage to normal fat molecules that can cause inflammation and disease. It is also said to lower LDL ("bad" cholesterol), enhance the body's defenses, and protect enzymes, DNA, and cellular fats.
A major claim for lycopene's benefits is in the prevention and treatment of cancers of the lung, prostate, stomach, bladder, cervix, skin, and, especially, prostate. In support of these claims regarding cancer, proponents note that lycopene is a powerful antioxidant, a compound that blocks the action of free radicals, activated oxygen molecules that can damage cells, and that several scientific studies have found lower risk of cancer among people who eat lycopene-rich foods. (Source: American Cancer Society)
- Watermelon is an excellent source citrulline, an important amino acid. Research indicates that this helps with good cardio vascular flow for heart health, as well as faster recovery for athletes.
- A diet containing foods high in potassium and low in sodium, like watermelon, may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, a risk factor for stroke and heart disease.
- A healthy diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruit may help reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
Watermelon is a good source of the following (based on a 1 cup (250 mL) serving):
- Vitamin C – a factor in the development and maintenance of bones, cartilage, teeth and gums
- Thiamine (vitamin B1) – releases energy from carbohydrates and aids in normal growth
- Vitamin B6 (also a source of pantothenic acid and magnesium) – a factor in energy metabolism and tissue formation
- Vitamin A – aids in normal bone and tooth development, maintaining the health of the skin
- Seedless watermelons have few or no seeds.
- Seedless watermelon are created naturally by crossing male pollen for a watermelon, containing 22 chromosomes per cell, with a female watermelon flower, containing 44 chromosomes per cell. When this seeded fruit matures, the seed inside contains 33 chromosomes, rendering it sterile and incapable of producing seeds. This process does not involve genetic modification.
- The small white “seeds” in a seedless watermelon are actually just empty seed coats that will never produce seeds.
U.S. WATERMELON TYPES:
While there are about 200 to 300 varieties of watermelon grown in the U.S. and Mexico, only about 50 of those are popular with consumers. Modern watermelon options include Seeded, Seedless, Mini, Yellow and Orange.
U.S. WATERMELONS IN CANADA
- U.S. watermelons are available in Canadian grocery stores from May through October.
- Canadian “local” watermelon is usually only available for a short time in August.
- Canadians love watermelon! Due to our short local season, we import most of it from the States. Each year we (Canadians) buy over 300 million pounds of US watermelon! If you assume half are large watermelons (approx. 20lbs and the other half are mini/small (say 4lbs) that equates to around 49 and a half million watermelons.
- Canada remains the U.S.A. watermelon industry’s number one export market, accounting for 98% of all U.S. watermelon exports.