Watermelon has been a summer favorite for generations. While it is true that watermelon is largely water (about 91%) and can be a refreshing treat on a hot summer day, it does merit some nutritional value as well.
Sweet, juicy watermelon provides vitamins A and C, potassium and magnesium. It has no fat or cholesterol and is low in calories (about 50 calories for 1 cup diced melon). Watermelon is also an excellent source of lycopene, an antioxidant found in red plant foods that can protect against certain cancers.
Choose watermelons with a smooth surface and a yellow underside. That is the part of the melon on the ground during the ripening process. If there is not a pale yellow side to the melon, it was most likely picked before it was ripe.
Store whole watermelon at room temperature until fully ripened and refrigerate up to one week. Cut watermelon can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. For food safety, always wash the outside rind before cutting the melon open.
Try a watermelon smoothie, add watermelon to salads, or make a tasty salsa by mixing in some watermelon. There are many ways to enjoy this refreshing taste of summer!
Additional nutrition information can be found at http://missourifamilies.org.
Contributor: Karen Sherbondy, MEd, RD, LD, Extension Associate, Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, University of Missouri Extension, 816-655-6227