Watermelon and Orzo Salad
Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Watermelon
Watermelons are low in calories and very nutritious. Watermelon is high in lycopene, second only to tomatoes. Recent research suggests that lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, is effective in preventing some forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease. According to research conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, men who consumed a lycopene-rich diet were half as likely to suffer a heart attack as those who had little or no lycopene in their diets.
Watermelon is also high in Vitamin C and Vitamin A, in the form of disease fighting beta-carotene. Research also suggests that the red pigmented foods provide this protection. Lycopene and beta-carotene work in conjunction with other plant chemicals not found in vitamin/mineral supplements. Potassium is also available, which is believed to help control blood pressure and possibly prevent strokes.
1 wedge, or 1/16 of a melon, about 1-2/3 cup
- Calories: 91.52
- Protein: 1.77 grams
- Carbohydrates: 20.54 grams
- Dietary Fiber: 1.43 grams
- Potassium: 331.76 mg
- Vitamin C: 27.46 mg
- Vitamin A:1046.76 IU
Preparation and Serving
Wash whole watermelons with clean water before slicing to remove potential bacteria. The flavor of watermelon is best enjoyed raw. Heating diminishes the flavor and softens the texture. Watermelon tastes best icy cold in fruit smoothies, slushes, or simply eaten from the rind.
To make melon balls, cut the watermelon in half lengthwise then into quarters.
- Watermelon balls can be scooped right out of rind.
- Create perfect balls, using a melon baller, and a twist of the wrist.
- The watermelon shell can be used to hold the melon balls as well as other fruit.
- Watermelon punch is also served from the hallow rind. By sitting the round end inside a ring or bowl, the shell will remain stable during serving.
To remove seeds, cut each quarter in half again.
- With the flesh of each wedge on top and the rind sitting on the counter, look for the row of seeds along the flesh of each wedge.
- Using a sharp knife, cut along the seed line and remove the flesh just above it.
- Scrape the seeds from the remaining piece.
Seeded watermelon chunks can be frozen to use in watermelon slushes or fruit smoothies. Watermelon sorbet or granita stays fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months. The difference between a sorbet and a granita is in the texture. Sorbets are smooth, whereas granitas are coarse. You do not need an ice cream maker to make a granita. The best way to enjoy watermelon is while they are fresh and sweet. When they are gone, they are gone until next summer.