The botanical name for watermelon, Citrullus vulgaris, comes from the form of citrus, referring to the color and shape of the fruit and vulgaris means common or widespread fruits. The interior of this succulent fruit is 90% water. Native to Africa, watermelon is a valuable and portable source of water for the desert or in situations where natural basins were infected. Watermelons are grown in Egypt and India as early as 2500 BC., according to ancient hieroglyphics.
More than five hundred varieties of watermelon are grown around the world, with a very wide variety of sizes, shapes and colors. Watermelons are usually divided into two categories: for storage in the fridge, or picnic. The fridge category is related to the size of watermelons, ranging from 3 to 8 kg. The picnic category includes larger watermelons, weighing 8 to 30 kg.
The most common are melons with bright reddish-pink texture, dotted with black seeds, but there are also white, pink, yellow and orange varieties with and without seeds. The color, size and shape have little effect on the flavor of the different varieties of watermelons.
The season for watermelons starts from May and continues until September, but the peak is mid-June to late August. When cut off before their full maturation, watermelons never develop their full flavor. A whole watermelon should be stored in the fridge and lasts about a week.
Composition of watermelon
Water constitutes 92% of the mass of the watermelon, making it the most hydro- intensive fruit. An interesting fact is that even the watermelon seeds are rich in protein and fat and are made of vegetable oil. Watermelon is rich in vitamin C, high doses of potassium, fiber source, and watermelon seeds contain a substance cucurbocitrin.
Surprisingly, the fragrant watermelon has only half the sugar content (5%) of an apple. Watermelon contains only 80 calories, no fat and cholesterol. It was found that watermelon is a very nutritious fruit source of large doses of vitamin A, fiber, calcium and iron.
Watermelon is a source of lycopene, which research has found that it can help prevent tumors. When munching sweet watermelon, we will feel fuller and it’s minimal calories will still fill some of our needs for dietary fiber, 25 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C, 20% of the daily requirement of vitamin A, 20 g of sugar and one g protein.
Selection and storage of watermelon
There is no 100% safe technique that can help you recognize a real juicy and sweet watermelon. There are a few tricks which can help you choose. The first and most important is to look at the fruit stalk - if the watermelon is nice and mature, the handle must be gently dried and withered, not green and fresh. Second step is to knock on the watermelon’s rind.
If you hear a hollow thud, maybe the fruit you are going to buy is not good. Knocking must tell you that the content of watermelon is tight and it is reflected in a clean and clear sound after knocking. Other signs of ripe melon are that it can be easily peeled with a nail, white and not yellow bottom spot, shiny skin and, of course, the large size and weight.
Watermelon can be stored up to 7-10 days at room temperature, but the sooner you eat this juicy fruit, the better. If you leave it too long, it can wither. Watermelon cut into pieces could last up to 2 days in the refrigerator in a covered container. If you do not cover it, the watermelon will form a kind of darker flesh with bad taste.
Culinary use of watermelon
Tasty and ripe melon can provide coolness in the summer heat like no other fruit. Although it is recommended to eat those juicy fruits raw, watermelons are subject to culinary use and can be consumed in different ways. Most popular is to make watermelon jam, pickled small melons or just add watermelon peel in mixed pickles.
The most common use of the watermelon is chilled, cut in pieces for a quick breakfast or dessert. In Italy, a popular dessert of watermelon pudding, usually made from watermelon, almonds, chocolate and cinnamon. There is also a popular dessert of watermelon and ice cream. In the southern states of the USA, pickled watermelon is made. The Russians, in turn, make watermelon juice and beer.
Indeed, the watermelon rind is also edible and can be prepared as a vegetable. Many love a dish with fried, boiled or pickled melon rind in China. When the Chinese fry watermelon rind, they peel it first, cut and put to fry with olive oil, seasoned with garlic, chilies, onions, sugar and rum.
As a specialty, pickled melon rind is more widespread in Russia. Watermelon makes unique summer cocktails and drinks. In various places around the world, the oval shape of the entire mature melon is filled inside with some alcoholic beverage, such as mint liqueur. You can do this either with a syringe or through a hole in the skin and wait for the alcohol to spread throughout the inside of the watermelon. Extensive use of watermelon is seen as a flavoring for various other drinks.
Benefits of watermelon
A piece of watermelon (about 1/16 of it) contains large amounts of vitamin C and beta carotene, which helps protect against various forms of cancer due to its antioxidant properties. Watermelon has a high content of potassium, which helps regulate heart function and normalizes blood pressure. It is also a good source of fiber, which helps to maintain proper bowel function and works to prevent colon and rectum. The seeds of watermelon contain cucurbocitrin, which helps in lowering blood pressure and improving renal function.
Regularly eating watermelon in the summer months, we can cleanse your body toxic products, making it a suitable food for urinary tract problems. They contain plenty of fluids, promote kidney functions and prevent the formation of kidney stones and help in some diseases of the heart, liver and gall bladder, but also in the treatment of gout. Up to 2.5 kg juicy watermelon a day can help with weight loss in people suffering from obesity.
Watermelons contain a lot less carbs than green peas, apples, oranges, and their level in this juicy fruit is about the same as red currants, raspberries and blueberries. Therefore, watermelons are good food for people with diabetes, for whom the recommended daily dose of watermelon is about 200-300 grams per day. Watermelons are a source of fruit sugar that is absorbed without requiring insulin, which is important for diabetics. It is believed that fructose from watermelon improves liver function, along with the absorption of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
If you suffer from constipation, be it even chronic, watermelon might be very useful because of its high levels of magnesium and fine pulp. Regular meals of the juicy fruit will regulate bowels and stimulate the secretion of bile. Because it is low-calorie, watermelon is a component of various diets and is very suitable for detox days.
Weight Loss with watermelon
Watermelon is a very dietetic product, to which many nutritionists directly attributed miraculous properties. Watermelon diet can be recommended to people of all ages. As seen, the watermelon is almost entirely devoid of vitamins, but in contrast, contains large amounts of easily digestible sugars - fructose and glucose. A watermelon diet should be followed five days - this is the time required for cleaning the body from slag and unwanted salts.