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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Know your Fruits - Watermelon

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus, a member of Cucurbitaceae family) is related to the cantaloupe, squash and pumpkin, (plants growing on vines on the ground).

Watermelon refers to both the fruit and plant of a vine-like (scrambler and trailer) herb.

The watermelon fruit, one of the common types of melon, can be round, oblong or spherical in shape. It has a thick / smooth exterior rind (green, yellow, and sometimes white) that are often spotted or striped and a juicy, sweet interior flesh (usually red, but sometimes orange, yellow, or pink).

Health Benefits / Nutrition:

  • Fresh watermelon is relished during hot summer days (when they are the sweetest and of best quality) often as thirst-quenching summer drinks to reduce inflammation and smoothies.
  • Watermelon contains about 6% sugar and 92% water by weight. Watermelon is a good source of antioxidants (to neutralize free radicals) including thiamin, potassium and magnesium.
  • It is an excellent source of vitamin C and beta-carotene (which helps in reducing risk of heart disease, asthma, diabetes, colon cancer including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis).
  • In addition, it is also a very good source of vitamin A and vitamin B6.

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There are more than twelve hundred varieties of watermelon with flesh that is red, orange, yellow, or white. Several notable varieties are included here.

  • Carolina Cross: This variety of watermelon has green skin, red flesh and commonly produces fruit between 65 and 150 pounds.
  • Yellow Crimson Watermelon: This variety of watermelon that has a yellow colored flesh. This particular type of watermelon has been described as "sweeter" and more "honey" flavored than the more popular red flesh watermelon.
  • Orangeglo: This variety of watermelon has a very sweet orange pulp, and is a large oblong fruit with a light green rind with jagged dark green stripes.
  • The Moon and Stars: This variety of watermelon has a purple/black rind with several small yellow circles (stars) and one or two large yellow circles (moon). The flesh is pink or red and has brown seeds. The foliage is also spotted.
  • Cream of Saskatchewan: This variety of watermelon consists of small round fruits, around 25 cm (10 inches) in diameter. It has a quite thin, light green with dark green striped rind, with sweet white flesh and black seeds.
  • Melitopolski: This variety has small round fruits roughly 28-30 cm (11-12 inches) in diameter.
  • Densuke Watermelon: This variety has round fruit with black rind with no stripes or spots.

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Tips for serving / cutting Watermelon:

Wash the watermelon thoroughly before cutting it. There are several methods of cutting a watermelon, depending on the size & recipe requirements.

  • The flesh can be sliced, cubed or scooped into balls.
  • Watermelon is delicious to eat as is, while it also makes a delightful addition to a fruit salad.
  • Jam, sorbet and juice are some nutritious and delicious things you can make with watermelon.
  • Besides the juicy flesh of the watermelon, both the seeds and the rind are also edible.

info src: wikipedia

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