It’s watermelon season! If you’re like many, this juicy, ripe fruit has become a staple in your summer fruit rotation. Sliced, cubed, balled – in salads, smoothies or chilled watermelon soup: it’s no doubt the star of the season and a treat any time of day, for all ages. But there’s one drawback. If you haven’t already noticed – these mega-sized melons result in a lot of waste.
Once you scoop out the sweet insides, you’re left with what seems like pounds of watermelon rinds to discard. Do you really have to just toss it all in the trash? The answer might surprise you: no! It turns out that there are plenty of ways you can put watermelon rinds to use. And, they even offer some nutrition benefits.
Is watermelon rind good for you?
Watermelon rinds contain a few notable nutrients, including fiber and potassium. On top of that, they’re rich in citrulline, an amino acid that plays a part in removing harmful substances (such as lactic acid and ammonia) from the blood. It’s also serves as an important precursor to the amino acid arginine. Arginine is converted in the body to nitric oxide, which is important for circulation and cardiovascular health.
Watermelon rind uses
So you might find yourself saying, that’s great and all – but I really don’t see the appeal in eating the hard, tasteless part of a watermelon. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up seven of the best ways to consume watermelon rinds!
While some of them take a bit of preparation, it’s well worth it to both reduce waste and enjoy all of the advantages of the watermelon fruit. Next time you crack one open, consider trying one of these ideas.
1. Make a smoothie.
Probably one of the easiest things to do with watermelon rinds is to blend them into smoothies. Simply peel and cube the rind, then freeze the pieces for smoothie making. They add a nice slushy texture – and nutrition benefits – to your drink.
2. Make pickled watermelon rinds.
Just about any vegetable or fruit can be pickled. To try it with watermelon rinds, just follow a classic pickling recipe (like this one for Easy Pickled Asparagus), but use watermelon rinds in place of the veggie in the recipe.
3. Make fermented watermelon rinds.
The benefits of fermented foods are well known. If the common sauerkraut dish doesn’t appeal to you, maybe watermelon rinds will. Fermenting will give you similar results to pickling the rinds, with the added digestive benefits of fermentation. Try this fermentation recipe for beginners to get started.
4. Create watermelon rind candy.
Candied watermelon rind is the crunchy snack you didn’t know you needed! All it takes is three simple steps. First, combine equal parts sugar and water in a pot, then bring it to a boil for 5 minutes. Add as much sliced watermelon rind as you can fit (about 2-4 cups), and let it simmer for about an hour. Once the mixture is nice and thick, remove the pot from the stove and let cool. Drain the sugar water, and your candied rinds are ready!
5. Make watermelon rind curry.
The white fleshy part of watermelon rinds makes a great addition to vegetable curry dishes. Remove the green outer from the rind, cube the fleshy part and add it to your curry recipe. Quick tip: For a speedy curry, use a premade curry sauce rather than making the dish from scratch.
6. Make watermelon rind preserves.
While watermelon rind preserves typically aren’t found on store shelves, it’s actually a common condiment in Serbian culture. Known as slatko lubenice, watermelon rind preserves are full of whole fruit chunks, making it a unique spread. The classic recipe calls for two pounds of cubed watermelon rind, four pounds of sugar, two vanilla beans, two sliced lemons and four easy steps. (If you try it, consider halving this recipe!)
First, boil the watermelon rinds until al dente, then drain. Second, cook the sugar in water on medium-low heat until it makes a syrupy consistency. Third, add the cooked watermelon rinds, vanilla beans and lemons to the syrupy mixture and cook for 20 minutes or until the rinds have softened. Finally, store your preserves in sterilized jars and enjoy for weeks.
7. Go for a watermelon rind gazpacho.
Gazpacho is hot soup’s cool cousin that lets us keep enjoying a spooned-up meal even during the hot summer months. The addition of watermelon rinds not only adds nutrition value but also a nice, crisp texture. Use any gazpacho recipe you’d like, but sub in watermelon rinds for one of the crunchy ingredients, like cucumber. Just like that you have an amazing, refreshing soup.