The Real Reason You Should Be Saving Your Watermelon Rind
If you are throwing away your watermelon rinds, then you just might be tossing out one of the best parts of the popular, juicy fruit. Like many other tasty fruits and vegetables, the rinds, stems, or peel are often home to a lot of the produce’s most important nutrients. And contrary to popular belief, the part of a food you usually throw in the trash bin can is sometimes pretty flavorful, too. So instead of tossing the watermelon rind into your kitchen compost the next time you enjoy this summery, delicious, make-you-smile fruit, think about all the health benefits of watermelon rind, and the many ways to use it (via Food Network).
While we all know the addictively-sweet, pink flesh is loaded with flavor and can be enjoyed in countless ways, you are missing out if you don’t also chow down on the white flesh that’s layered next to the green rind. Yup, that part. It turns out, the white, fleshy part of the rind is surprisingly versatile in terms of how many ways you can dice it, slice it, pickle it, and basically enjoy it perhaps even as much as the sweeter, admittedly better-looking part of the melon. That’s right; we’re not suggesting you sit there are just spoon the rind into your mouth!
Seriously, it’s high time to start making use of the watermelon rind instead of tossing it away. Trust us! Your doctor will thank you, too.
Health benefits of watermelon rind
We know watermelon is great for hydration since it is 90 percent water, which also makes it low in calories, too; only 49 calories per cup. Combined with the amount of fiber it has, the fruit is a great snack for anyone feeling bloated or trying to lose weight. If you’ll be loading up on melons to trim your waistline and help with digestion, be sure to note the many health benefits of the rind.
Chief among the benefits of including the rind in your diet is that it’s super heart-health, according to Healthline. Studies have shown consuming watermelon, rind and all, can help reduce blood pressure. The fruit is also a diuretic, which is recommended for those who suffer from high blood pressure.
Another “white” lining (get it?) to chowing down on rind is that you’re getting tons of added fiber, which aids in digestion. Diets high in fiber, well, keep you regular, and help to lower blood sugar, fill you up, and reduce the risk of developing diseases of the colon.
Apart from reducing your blood pressure and providing you with more fiber, the white part of the rind can also do wonders for your physical performance. From sports to the bedroom, watermelon rinds have been said to give an, ahem, boost. It’s sometimes even called nature’s Viagra! The way watermelon and its rind boost performance is all about availability of amino acid citrulline. This helps muscles gain access to oxygen, which enables faster recovery and prevents sore muscles.
What to do with the of the watermelon rind
If the idea of munching further into the rind of a slice of watermelon just doesn’t sound appetizing to you, don’t worry. There are a surprising number of ways you can make it more than edible. Watermelon rinds can actually be quite tasty, in fact.
While we love the idea of blending them up with lime and some mint for a refreshing drink, there are some other, more creative ways to eat watermelon rind. Some people might pickle entire slices of watermelon, but other recipes call for pickling nothing more than the rind itself. Adding a few maraschino cherries to the process helps sweeten it up too. It’s an old-fashioned take, but certainly, one to try (via The Spruce Eats).
Other recipes for pickled watermelon rinds are a bit spicier than sweet. For example, Taste of Home uses cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorns to give the pickled rinds a nice kick. If you only like the idea of a sweeter pickled watermelon rind, then you might want to consider making watermelon rind preserves, which might be a bit more appealing if you’ve never had pickled watermelon (via All Recipes).
Finally, watermelon rind can be used as a vegetable when it is cut up. So add it to stir-fries or maybe even to kimchi if you’re the adventurous type in the kitchen. We also like the idea of compressing the watermelon and serving it in a poke bowl (via American Lifestyle). You can also juice the rinds too (via Watermelon).
Here’s Why You Should Be Eating Watermelon Rind
While you’re probably gearing up to eat your weight in watermelon this summer, we now have another reason the keep up our melon obsession: Chances are you probably chow down on the juicy pink goodness until reaching the green peel, and then toss it. But you actually can (and should!) eat the watermelon rind, too.
Just like watermelon seeds, the rind has a surprising amount of health benefits. While it doesn’t have a tremendous amount of nutrients according to Live Strong, it’s high in vitamins B and C. Plus, eating something you typically would have discarded cuts down on waste.
Recent research also suggests that inside the rind there are high doses of citrulline, a compound linked to a range of benefits. Most notably, citrulline converts to arginine, which is vital to the heart and improves circulation, according to Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center.
While the rind is edible as is, it might be more appealing if you prepare it by pickling or juicing it. Popular in the South, homemade pickled watermelon rind takes on a tart taste and a crunchy texture that’s similar to pickled cucumbers:
You can get the recipe at Untrained Housewife.
Or, you could break out your trusty Instant Pot to make spicy watermelon rind pickles, perfect if you don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen—you just need rinds, lemons, sugar, salt, and hot sauce.
You can get the recipe at Extra Crispy.
Finally, for a refreshing way to stay hydrated this summer, opt to juice the rind. Or, simply throw it in a blender and add lime and mint for flavor for a refreshing smoothie treat.
Watermelon Rinds Are Actually Good For You + How To Use Them
With about 92% water per serving size, watermelon is arguably one of the most refreshing and hydrating summer fruits. Most people gravitate toward the juicy center and toss the watermelon rind, assuming the tough exterior isn’t edible. But it turns out, the watermelon rind actually has a range of health benefits and plenty of tasty uses.
To cut down on waste and get all of the watermelon’s benefits, mbg spoke with registered dietitians for their take.
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Can you eat watermelon rind?
“Believe it or not, you actually can (and should) eat watermelon rind,” registered dietitian Brenna Wallace, M.S., RDN, LDN, tells mbg.
In fact, watermelon rinds have been used since ancient Egyptian times, registered dietitian Ella Davar, R.D., CDN, tells mbg. With a rising awareness of environmental sustainability and zero-waste movements, though, she says eating the rind is becoming more mainstream.
“More and more ideas are popping out about usage of carrot tops, beet leaves, papaya seeds, and watermelon rinds,” Davar says. One thing to keep in mind before eating them, though, is the quality of the produce. Davar recommends looking for organically grown fruits that haven’t been treated with herbicides or pesticides.
Watermelon rind benefits.
As long as the fruit meets quality standards, Wallace says the white and green pieces of watermelon are actually rich in nutrients like magnesium and potassium and have a number of benefits:
They’re a good source of fiber.
The white part of the rind is a good source of fiber, Davar says, which helps aid in digestion. Along with promoting regularity, diets high in fiber can enhance gut health and help manage cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Since the rinds are lower in sugar and higher in fiber than the actual melon, when eaten together they help slow down sugar absorption in the gut, Davar explains. This is what helps prevent blood sugar spikes.
“Americans only eat around 10 to 15 grams of fiber per day, much lower than the recommended 25 to 39 grams per day,” Wallace says. “However, adding watermelon rind to your diet can boost your daily fiber intake.”
They contain beneficial amino acids.
“The rind is also home to a naturally occurring amino acid called L-citrulline,” Wallace says. “Citrulline has been shown to help reduce blood pressure in adults with hypertension, as well as boost athletic performance.”
The kidneys convert this nonessential amino acid into another amino acid, called L-arginine, Davar explains, as well as a chemical called nitric oxide. “Nitric oxide helps to dilate the veins and arteries, allowing for better blood flow to both your heart and your muscles,” Wallace says.
Ways to use watermelon rind.
“Much like cucumber, pickling watermelon rind is a popular way to reap its many benefits,” Wallace tells mbg. For those who don’t like the acidic or sour taste of pickles, she recommends blending the rind into a smoothie or adding it to a juice.
To make a refreshing rind drink, Davar says to blend strawberries, ice, and lemon juice with one to two watermelon slices (with the rinds, of course). Adding honey and ginger are optional, she says.
Shredding them into summer salads and salsas or adding them to grilled kabobs are other creative ways to make use of watermelon rinds. However you choose to enjoy them, it’s clear that watermelons are healthy and versatile summer snacks.