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The nutritional characteristics of watermelon

Watermelon is the typical summertime fruit, along with melon and pineapple. It’s the ideal way to end a summer dinner or to prepare a thirst-quenching treat, like watermelon popsicles. The fact that it ripens only from May to September is not a coincidence. It needs climates that are clearly Mediterranean or, better yet, subtropical.

Despite the general perception that watermelon is a poor fruit consisting mainly of “sugar and water” (which is actually only 5% of the fruit), the fruit is actually rich in essential nutrients. Fructose is the most prevalent material; however, there are also noticeable amounts of vitamins A, C, and B6. Additionally, the fruit is a significant source of magnesium and potassium. Moreover, watermelon can help reduce water retention because it is a subtle diuretic and a natural detoxifier.

The varieties on the market

In the collective imagination, watermelon is always more or less similar: streaked green skin, soft and floury red pulp, considerable size. In reality, fruit is characterised by a great variety, to the point that there are more than a thousand of them, and many are distinguished by colour, consistency, size, and flavour. Below, we present some of the most important varieties present in Italy.

  • Citron: It is the rarest variety and the one that fits the stereotype of the watermelon: tiny size, yellow pulp, and few seeds.
  • Bagnacavallo: A Romagnan variety that is characterised by different streaks, greater sweetness, and medium size
  • Moon and Star: An American variety that stands out for its above-average size. The peel is dark and dotted with small, light spots.
  • Cream of Saskatchewan: It is a small variety with white and soft pulp, and it has a taste between acidic and aromatic.
  • Orangelo: It is the result of crossing multiple varieties, grown mainly in Texas. It stands out for its beautiful, bright orange pulp.
  • Densuke: It is a Japanese variety that stands out for its very dark skin with barely visible streaks. The flavour is very sweet, and the size is smaller than average.
  • Golden midget: It is large in size, while the pulp is seedless and can also be light coloured.
  • Yellow: the pulp is straw yellow in colour and tastes similar to that of pineapple. The peel is similar to red watermelon, and the pulp has an intense yellow color. It is also crunchier, a little more acidic, and has a pleasant hint similar to prickly pear. Finally, the dimensions are rather small. In my opinion, the best quality is the yellow Aragon watermelon, also known as coco-pineapple, Japanese watermelon, or pineapple watermelon.
  • Red: This is the most common variety of watermelon, characterised by dark or light green skin and bright red flesh. It is sweet and juicy and is often used for juicing.
  • Seedless: These varieties were developed to have few or no seeds, making them very convenient to eat.
  • Green Flesh: These watermelons have light green or pale green flesh. They are less sweet than red watermelons, but still refreshing and tasty.
  • Sugar Baby: This is a smaller, more compact variety with dark skin and deep red flesh. It is known for its sweetness and ideal size to be cut into smaller slices.
  • Crimson Sweet: This variety has dark green skin and sweet, juicy red flesh. It is one of the most common varieties grown commercially.
  • Orangeglo: This variety has dark green skin and bright orange flesh. It is sweet and fruity, with a flavour similar to that of orange.
  • Charleston Grey: Featuring a light green skin and red flesh, this variety has a sweet, refreshing flavour.
  • Yellow Crimson: With yellow-orange flesh and dark green skin, this variety offers a sweet, slightly fruity flavour.
  • A Moon and Stars: This variety is recognisable by the dark green or bluish spots on the skin, which resemble stars and moons. The pulp is often red or pink and has a sweet flavour.

The flavour, colour, and size of each kind of watermelon are distinctive. Taking into account your own tastes and the available options on the market, select the variety that best appeals to you.

How is the watermelon eaten?

Obviously, the main method of consumption remains “raw”, without any particular treatments or supplements of any kind. However, watermelon can be the protagonist of some interesting recipes, most of which see it as the protagonist in aperitifs or as a summer meal (due to its freshness).

There are also delicious preparations, which play a bit with flavours. Take a look at the prawn cocktail with watermelon (a less bizarre idea than you might think) and the watermelon and feta salad. Although it is not among the most requested types, it is even possible to prepare a good jam with watermelon.


What benefits does watermelon offer?

As we’ve seen, watermelon has a number of “nutritional” benefits. This fruit’s abundance of active ingredients makes it beneficial. The top ten benefits of watermelon in this area are listed below.

It is good for the immune system. The credit goes largely to vitamin C, which is quite abundant.

Promotes diuresis. In this case, the reference is to some specific substances, but above all to the abundant presence of water.

Quenches your thirst. Precisely by virtue of the abundance of water, watermelon helps hydrate the body.

It doesn’t increase blood sugar (at least not by much). Watermelon is rich in sugars, but they belong to the fructose category. Furthermore, the glycemic index is medium-low.

Helps with digestion. The significant presence of water and the abundance of fibre have a positive impact on digestive processes.

It has a tonic effect. In this instance, the quantity and type of mineral salts are important factors.

Fullness. The presence of water and fibre produces fullness, however, at a limited caloric cost.

It doesn’t make you fat. Watermelon is low-calorie; one gramme has around 30 kcal.

Improves the appearance of the skin and hair. The credit in this case goes to the abundance of vitamin A (which is also good for your eyesight).

Promotes good bone health. This is mainly due to the presence of calcium.