Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Can I Eat Watermelon Seeds and Rind?




Every part of the watermelon is edible - the juicy flesh, the high protein seeds and the rind. Here's at least 7 ways to eat watermelon:
  1. fresh cool watermelon flesh
  2. raw sprouted watermelon seeds
  3. roasted watermelon seeds
  4. roasted watermelon seed flour
  5. watermelon seed tea
  6. watermelon rind pickle
  7. iced lime watermelon rind


Last Saturday, the children harvested their first watermelon from our no-dig watermelon patch with utter delight. It’s gone already!  It was just so deliciously juicy and absolutely full of flavour, but not overly sweet. We have all delighted in its cool juiciness. 

Watermelon is great in school gardens, community gardens and home gardens with a bit of space.

Hugh is so delighted with this harvest.

Cold chunks eaten straight from the fridge have been the perfect food for this hot time we have been experiencing. Watermelons are of course mostly water - over 90% - great for helping to keep hydrated. This January was our hottest on record, and February is looking like being the same - consistently hot without a break and no rain. This is meant to be our wet season here in the subtropics!

Until my children started eating their own watermelons, they refused to eat seeded watermelon, as much as I tried. The flavour is just so amazing and the pip-spitting competitions so fun. All refusals to eat seedy watermelon forgotten.  Did you know that seeded watermelons tend to have better flavour than their seedless relatives? My kids believe me now.

Young Hugh is now quite adamant that we must save at least a quarter of the pips from our delicious fruits for future plantings and for sharing - a seed saver in the making (woohoo! - smiling proud mum moment). 

Are Watermelon Seeds Edible?

Watermelon seeds are not only perfectly safe, but they are good for you. 

While he was collecting all the seeds, Hugh asked if they were edible, or whether they were slightly poisonous like apple seeds with their cyanide. We did some research together and discovered that the seeds are totally edible and have so many uses.

Hugh researched that there are between 200 and 800 seeds in a watermelon.

The seed is a nutritious part of watermelon that is typically overlooked - well actually almost forgotten now the dominance of the seedless hybrids.

The seeds can be eaten raw or roasted and are most similar in flavour to sunflowers or pumpkin seeds. Sprouted watermelon seeds have less, calories fat and carbohydrate than sprouted almonds and sunflower seeds, but more protein. About 1/8 cup has 10 grams of protein.  They also contain vitamin B and magnesium.

Raw Watermelon Seeds: sprout the watermelon seeds and shell them. First soak the seeds in water overnight, then wait for a few days until they’ve sprouted. You can eat them like this or fry them in the sun, dehydrator, or oven and eat.

Roasted Watermelon Seeds: While the nutritional value is less, they taste better roasted - a bit more nutty.  After sprouting and shelling, you can dry them in a dehydrator, or roast them for 15 mins in the oven until brown and crispy. They taste great on salads, as part of a seedy snack mix, or just eaten straight - with a dash of olive oil and himalayan salt

Watermelon seed flour: Roasted seeds can ground into a flour using a coffee grinder. These can used in cakes, biscuits and many other recipes needing flour.

Watermelon Seed Tea: Grind 30-40 watermelon seeds  (fresh or dried) and boil up with 2 litres of water for 10 minutes. This tea is good for those with digestive issues, or those who are prone to urinary tract infections. 

Edible Watermelon Rind

An interesting observation is that the children are also eating all of the watermelon, right down to the rind. We’ve been feeding the rinds to the worms and guinea pigs - not a single bit of flesh wasted.  Food critic Hugh thinks that in store-bought watermelon, the white bit seems nowhere near as juicy and tasty. 
Pickled Watermelon Rind: The worms and guinea pigs are not going to be so lucky with our next harvested watermelon. I have just discovered that you can pickle watermelon rinds. There seem to be lots of recipes posted online - I’m going to try out a couple soon.

Iced & Limed Watermelon Rind
Blend cool chunks of peeled watermelon with the fresh juice of lime and a few icebox for a refreshing cool summer treat.

(NB: make sure it is homegrown or organic before eating the rind, otherwise you'll want to give it a thorough wash).

Edible Watermelon Leaves?

I’m looking for a reference to this but have yet to find it. If you know of any information about whether it is OK to eat watermelon, and places where this is part of the food culture, please let me know.

Watermelon Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus is part of the Cucurbitaceae family, related to squash, pumpkins, and cucumbers. Watermelon however is actually a berry. Botanists class them as pepos - berries with thick hard rinds and fleshy interiors. There are more than 1200 watermelon cultivars and some can weigh up to 90 kilograms. 

More about watermelons

History
Watermelons originated around 5,000 years ago in the Kalahari Desert of Africa where its wild ancestors still growing.  It was cultivated in the Nile Valley from the second millennium BC and watermelon seeds were been found in the tomb of Tutankhamun.

How to grow
Watermelons are easy to grow. They are a tropical or subtropical vine that needs lots of sun and consistent water, temperatures higher than about 25 °C and about three months of reliably hot weather. Each vine produces about two to six melons.

Give them lots of good compost to start them off, and enough space to grow and ramble - the space also good for air circulation and for pollinators to get to work. Mulch the area well

Watermelons prefer to be watered deeply to keep soil moist, rather than frequent, shorter sprinklings. It’s also a good idea to water at the base of the plants rather than sprinklers to prevent disease.

When to harvest
Watermelons will not ripen after you’ve picked them, so wait until they are fully mature and get to know the signs.

  • tendrils to begin turning brown and dying off
  • tap the melon—it should sound hollow
  • turn over the watermelon - the colour should have changed from from white to pale yellow where it touches the soil
  • ripe melons smell sweet at the stem end.


Recipes?
Do you have any wonderful recipes for watermelon, watermelon seed, watermelon seed flour, watermelon seed oil, watermelon rind pickle? Please share in the comments.


A couple of references..

3 comments:

  1. Well there's an old country tune I know of that references Watermelon Wine so it could be worth some research ;)

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  2. Watermelons from Isfahan in Iran were known as the best in Persia. The city built special towers for pigeons to roost at night. The droppings from thousands of pigeons roosting in these towers was collected to fertilize the watermelons.
    https://www.facebook.com/dame.ratus.in.iran/photos/a.635635346604678.1073741894.417213165113565/635635383271341/?type=3&theater

    ReplyDelete
  3. Don't think I could eat the rind it would deprive my chooks who love icy cold left over watermelon on a hot day. :-)

    ReplyDelete