Nutrition Articles

Beat the Heat with a Watermelon Treat

Summer's Freshest Pick

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My watermelon memories go way back… 

Thumping and selecting the perfect melon at the local produce stand, chilling it to perfection, slicing a big wedge and devouring the dark, juicy fruit, and wiping the excess juice from my chin with the sleeve of my t-shirt. And of course, who could resist the seed-spitting contest? Talk about childhood fun! 

Health Benefits 
Most people agree that eating watermelon is one of the best summer activities. However, you may be surprised to learn that such a sweet treat is equally beneficial to your health. The antioxidant lycopene is a plant chemical that gives certain foods (watermelon, tomatoes, red grapefruit, and guava) their red color. Part of the large class of plant compounds called carotenoids, which help protect and preserve body cells from oxidation and damage, lycopene may reduce one’s risk of prostate cancer and protect against heart disease. 

Watermelon Selection & Storage 
Follow these 3 easy steps to choose a perfect melon every time:
  1. Choose a firm, symmetrical fruit that is free of bruises, cuts, and dents.
  2. Pick up the melon, it should feel heavy. (A good watermelon is 92% water.)
  3. The underside should have a creamy yellow spot where the melon sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.
Compared to most fruits, watermelon should be stored at a warmer temperature—about 55 degrees Fahrenheit—since temperatures too low can cause chill damage. After 2 days at 32 degrees, the flavor will be “off,” and the melon will lose color and become pitted. Whole melons will keep for 7-10 days at room temperature. Once a melon is cut, it should be wrapped and stored at 37-39 degrees Fahrenheit.
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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

Member Comments

  • And to think I used to be on "diets" that didn't allow watermelon!!! - 10/2/2011 8:25:47 PM
    I like to store the leftover melon in Tupperware Food Savers. They have vents that you control. I've kept watermelon cubes for as much as 10 days using them. - 11/13/2009 1:15:51 PM
  • Once I've cut one open, I cube the leftover fruit and put it in a container in the fridge. It's gone in a day or two. - 11/13/2009 8:23:17 AM
  • NPAUL929
    And the featured recipe for today is Chicken & Asparagus Pasta. Maybe someone is wishing for warmer weather? lol - 11/13/2009 8:16:22 AM
  • NPAUL929
    And the featured recipe for today is Chicken & Asparagus Pasta. Maybe someone is wishing for warmer weather? lol - 11/13/2009 8:15:24 AM
  • Hmm. This article must have been selected for Southern Hemisphere Spark People! LOL - 11/13/2009 7:05:52 AM
  • I'm in Brazil and freshly made juice is inexpensive and available every where. I "discovered" watermelon juice and can't get enough of it. Yum! Thanks for the recipes. - 11/13/2009 3:36:48 AM
  • The smoothie is to die for and healthy. It doesn't get any better than that! - 9/27/2009 8:21:33 PM
  • I love watermelon but my husband doesn't and dislikes that once I've cut into a melon the leftovers take up so much fridge space. Oh well. - 9/27/2009 6:51:24 PM
  • I love the yellow watermelon the best, but love them both - 9/27/2009 6:50:43 PM
  • Watermelon yum!
    Love the seedless in smoothies!

    : )
    Mzzchief - 9/27/2009 2:47:54 PM
    I prefer seedless watermelon too. I often use it in smoothies and fruit salads. I need to try your recipe for parfait. It sounds so good! Thanks for another great article. - 9/27/2009 12:57:08 PM
  • Great to know that somthing I love to eat is so good for me! - 9/27/2009 11:03:51 AM
  • I remember those seed spitting contests, but I find that the older I get, the less I like seeds, so I opt for seedless. The flavor is still there. I Love it! - 9/27/2009 2:07:26 AM
  • I buy my watermelons, come home cut them up for the frig and it is great for snacks, sending to work w/hubby to add to breakfast, throwing in smoothies and putting in the ice cream machine w/ diet 7-up for a quick sorbet. We love it in my house. And when the fruit is cut up and accessible, no one is looking for high fat/high sugar foods to munch. - 3/31/2009 9:26:37 AM

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