Produce Spotlight on Watermelon
Watermelon is 92% water, making it a hydration superfood. It is a good source of vitamins A and C, and beta carotene. It also contains higher levels of lycopene than any other fresh fruit. Lycopene is an antioxidant that may help prevent long-term diseases like cancer. Watermelon’s sweet, juicy flesh is usually eaten raw. The rind can be pickled, sautéed, or used in curries and chutneys. One of the largest water- melons ever grown weighed 350 pounds!
Shopping for Watermelon
Choose melons that are heavy, have a hard rind, and are free of scrapes and bruises. If the melon is ripe, it will have a yellow-colored underbelly. The rind is often striped. The inside flesh can be red, pink, yellow, or orange, usually has many seeds, and has a crisp, slightly crunchy texture. Massachusetts-grown watermelons are available from August through October.
Picnic – large, up to 50 pounds, with bright red flesh and green rind. Icebox – small, 5 to 15 pounds.
Yellow/Orange – light green rind and yellow or orange flesh; varied sweetness.
Seedless – hybrid melon with yellow, orange, or red flesh and without fully developed black-brown seeds.
Storage and Preparation
- Unwashed and uncut watermelon can be stored at room temperature for up to 10 days.
- Wash under cool running water and scrub as needed before preparing.
- Cut melon in half and slice into cubes or sticks, or use a melon baller for ball-shaped pieces.
- Store cut melon in the refrigerator, covered, for up to five days.
- For a frozen treat, remove the seeds, put watermelon pieces in a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour into freezer molds or small plastic cups. Add grapes, berries, or other fruit, insert a Popsicle stick, and freeze.
- Add fresh or frozen watermelon cubes to water or seltzer.
- Cut melon into sticks and dip in low-fat vanilla yogurt.
- Slice rinds thinly and add to stir-fries.
1 20-pound watermelon =
32 cups cubed fruit
1 pound watermelon flesh =
1½ cups diced or about a 1-inch wedge
Using Locally Grown Produce
For recipes featuring fruits and vegetables, visit our website https://extension.umass.edu/nutrition/recipes/. To locate places to buy local produce, visit https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-grownand-fresher.