A Summertime Favorite - Watermelon

Watermelon

Article written by Brenda Aufdenkamp (baufdenkamp1@unl.edu), Extension Educator in Lincoln, Logan, McPherson Counties.

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Watermelon is an American summertime favorite. Throughout the summer months, many cannot get enough of this sweet treat. There are more than 1,200 different varieties of watermelons. Watermelon provides a refreshing way to help us reach the MyPlate recommendation of 1-2 cups from the fruit group each day. One cup of watermelon is equal to 1 small slice (1 inch thick) or 1 cup diced. Watermelon is naturally low in fat, sodium and has no cholesterol. It provides a source of potassium, vitamin C, Vitamin A and folic acid. Some interesting facts about watermelon:

  • A watermelon is 100% usable and compostable (70% flesh and 30% rind).
  • Watermelon live up to their name as they are 92% water.
  • The rind of a watermelon is edible and can be used in stir-fries or salads.
  • Hollow out the watermelon to make a compostable bowl for your delicious treat such as a fruit salad or fruity dessert.

Selecting the perfect watermelon – Choose a firm, symmetrical, fruit that is free of cracks, bruises, soft spots or mold. A ripe watermelon will have a dull sheen, dried stem, and a buttery yellow underside where it has touched the ground. Thump your watermelon, as it should sound dull and hollow. Lift them as well, they should be heavy for their size.

Storing your watermelon – An uncut watermelon can be kept for up to 2 weeks at room temperature. When ready to use, scrub with a clean vegetable brush under running water. Dry with a clean towel or paper towel. Once cut, store watermelon in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days without a decrease in flavor or texture.

Simply Summer Fruit Salad

Summer Fruit Salad1 cup diced watermelon, scrubbed with clean vegetable brush under running water
• 1 cup blueberries, gently rubbed under cold running water
• 1 cup diced kiwi, gently rubbed under cold running water
• 1 cup canned mandarin oranges, drained
• 1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh, frozen or canned

  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Stir fruit together in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Serve immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator.

Makes 5 servings (1 cup each). Each serving contains 78 calories, 0.4 g fat, 19.4 grams carbohydrate, 14.8 grams total sugar, 4 mg sodium, 1.3 grams protein.

Sources:

  1. All about the Fruit Group, ChooseMyPlate from USDA
  2. How to Pick a Watermelon, National Watermelon Board