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Watermelon Healthy Food Guide

Peak season: June through October

Recipe shown above: Watermelon Gazpacho

 

It was not a Southern watermelon that Eve took; we know it because she repented.

—Mark Twain

Experience a quintessential summer pleasure: take a big bite from a slice of watermelon, let the sweet juices drip down your chin and then spit the seeds as far as you can. Redolent with tangy sweetness, watermelon is refreshing without being filling and is surprisingly good for you. Watermelon—92 percent water, hence the name— is a good source of vitamin C and the antioxidant lycopene, when it’s red (some are orange or yellow).

What you get

Watermelon averages 40% more of the cancer-fighter lycopene per serving than tomatoes. Lycopene in watermelon is easily absorbed without cooking, unlike that in tomatoes, and is relatively stable when the fruit is stored and refrigerated. A 1-cup serving of watermelon also provides 10% of the daily value for vitamin A, 12% of the daily value for vitamin C, along with vitamin B6, beta carotene, thiamin and potassium—all for just 46 calories.

Tips

Shopping Tips
Watermelon should be firm and symmetrical, without bruises, cuts or dents.
It should feel heavy for its size and have a creamy yellow spot on the one side of the melon where it sat on the ground to ripen in the sun.
Precut melon flesh should be dense, firm and appear moist.
Storage Tips
Wash watermelons in clean, running water and dry before eating to remove surface dirt.
When purchasing cut watermelon, wash and dry the rind of the watermelon.
Watermelon temperature should be maintained—if it is purchased at room temperature, it should be stored at room temperature. If the melon was refrigerated at the supermarket, do so at home as well.
Cut melon should be refrigerated immediately either in a covered container or with cut surfaces covered with plastic wrap to prevent the flesh from becoming mushy.

Fun Fact

Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.

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