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Watermelon — benefit and harm, composition, storage, varieties and cultivation

Calorie content: 25 kcal.

Energy value of the product Watermelon:
Protein: 0.6 g
Fat: 0.1 g
Carbohydrates: 5.8 g

Watermelon — sweet, large berry with a smooth striped surface and juicy pinkish-red flesh. It was introduced in the 8th century from India, which successfully traded with Kievan Rus, and it leads its origin from the deserts of South Africa, where even in the valleys you can find dense thickets of wild watermelon.

Nowadays it is difficult to find someone who does not like the sugar pulp of ripe watermelon, which is not only a favorite delicacy, but also a real storehouse of useful properties.

A question that has long interested many people and sounds like this: “Is watermelon a vegetable, fruit or berry?” Actually has a very simple answer.

Let’s figure it out together. So, the watermelon is a fruit growing on a grassy shoot and consisting of a dense peel and many small seeds that are enclosed in juicy pulp. By all indications it turns out that he cannot be a fruit.

There are two options — a vegetable or a berry. Here opinions are equally divided. On the one hand, watermelon belongs to melon crops, which also include pumpkin, cucumber, and zucchini. But when evaluating the fruit, on the other hand, there is a doubt, because all the listed vegetables have a similar structure: dense skin, juicy watery, but elastic flesh and seeds, located closer to the middle of the fruit. And besides (most often), these vegetables do not have a pronounced sweetness. Watermelon, on the contrary, is very sweet, and its seeds are located throughout the entire pulp of the fruit. This suggests that the watermelon is still a berry. And here it is necessary to turn to the long-term studies and developments of botanical scientists, who agreed that watermelon is a false berry of an annual liana-like plant.

How to choose a watermelon, distinguishing ripe, few know. Most buyers rely on the honesty of the sellers or ask to cut the fruit. The latter, I would like to note, is extremely undesirable to do, because you cannot be one hundred percent sure that the seller’s hands and knife are clean. The consequence of neglecting hygiene can be poisoning and other troubles associated with it.

Therefore, carefully read this section and get the opportunity to choose high-quality watermelons without risk to your own health and the health of your relatives. For convenience of perception, all knowledge is collected in the table below:

The ripening of watermelons in the southern regions begins in late August and lasts until the first decade of October. The product purchased before the mass harvest of fruit, most often grown using agro-industrial technologies, which are aimed at making a profit, and this is always not in favor of human health.

Watermelons should not be purchased in «spontaneous» markets. Sellers of this berry must have permission to sell the product and a certificate for the products sold. A large number of buyers ignore this requirement, which plays into the hands of the implementer. And the cost of watermelons purchased outside the market can be significantly lower, and therefore the desire to save gains the upper hand over common sense.

The purchased watermelon should be quite dense to the touch and not have visible damage. The peel of high-quality watermelon should not give in when pressed. It should be shiny and smooth, and even at the ripe watermelon should be clearly visible stripes. The “yellow spot” on a ripe watermelon should be of a pronounced color: from yellow to orange. Whitish spots speak about immaturity of a fruit before collecting. The tail on the ripened fetus must be dry and thin.

Ripe watermelon has the characteristic aroma of watermelon pulp, which is clearly audible at the base of the stem. If the berry has the smell of mowed grass, then, most likely, you have an immature fruit.

Too large size of watermelon alarmingly many. And these concerns are not groundless. The size of the average «correct» watermelon should not exceed thirty-five centimeters in diameter. Fruits with dark green skin are even less. By purchasing a watermelon of great weight, buyers are at risk to subsequently eat the nitrate berry..

There is a popular belief that the feminine fruits are always sweeter, and this opinion is not mistaken. Fruit “girl” has a groove near the nose, and “boys” has a bulge.

When you click your finger on the watermelon, which satisfied the buyer in all of the listed indicators, you must hear the echo inside the pulp. The thud is an indication of the immaturity of the berry.

About the ripeness of watermelon, perhaps, everything. Choose the «right» watermelons and enjoy their taste without risk to health! Just do not forget to thoroughly wash the berry before eating, because it has come a long way until it got to your kitchen!

Every consumer should know the basic signs of nitrate watermelon. Of course, it is very difficult to understand the degree of safety of the product without cutting the watermelon. Therefore, we are talking about the already purchased product.

In fairness, I would like to note that it is impossible to purchase vegetables or berries, and even more so watermelons, without nitrates at all, because the presence of the latter in the products is directly related to the cultivation technology.

How to distinguish nitrate watermelon? How to check watermelon for nitrates at home? This will be discussed in this section of the article.

Carefully inspect the watermelon for the presence of yellow veins in the flesh. If they are, then do not eat this berry to avoid health problems. The second indicator of «nitration» is considered too saturated color of the pulp. The insides of ripe watermelon in most varieties are pure red. There is another way to help you determine the use of a large amount of fertilizer in agricultural technology. It is easy to hold at home.

Prepare a glass bowl in which to pour cold water. After that, put a piece of watermelon pulp in water and leave it there for five minutes. After a time, remove the watermelon and carefully study the water. If the liquid is colored pink, then in front of you is a berry, the use of which may adversely affect your well-being. High-quality watermelon does not stain water, but only makes it cloudy.

But the most accurate way to identify watermelon with nitrates is a laboratory test.

In the era of technology, it is not difficult to make it even at home, because on sale you can buy a device that measures the level of nitrates in any product. It is enough to pierce any berry or vegetable with a special sensor — and a number will be displayed on the screen of the device, which will show the amount of nitrates in the product. The consumer will only have to compare the readings with the table of acceptable values ​​of nitrates for each individual product, and then draw the appropriate conclusions for themselves.

The beneficial properties of watermelons are very extensive. Juiciness and pleasant sweetness of the fruit helps the body to produce the hormones of pleasure, thus the person is easier to experience stress. A large amount of beta-carotene contained in this berry is useful for people who are experiencing physical, moral and emotional stress, as well as for older people who find it harder to stay calm in difficult situations with age.

This striped berry contains antioxidants — substances by which the body fights oxidative processes that cause aging. A piece of watermelon contains a quarter of the daily rate of vitamin C, which also protects against infections and prevents tooth decay.

Watermelon contains a lot of lycopene (a substance that helps prevent cancer): even more than in known natural leaders in its content — tomatoes.

Consumption in the diet of this berry is of great importance for maintaining the health of a woman. Watermelon helps to balance food and at the same time has a low calorie content. Fasting days for watermelons help to improve the general condition of a person, as well as clean the intestines of toxins, taking with them the accumulated toxins.

Even the use of watermelon has a beneficial effect on blood formation and the condition of the liver. This fruit is a well-known diuretic that helps to get rid of stagnation in the renal pelvis and is able to painlessly remove sand from the urinary tract.

In the period called PMS, the presence of watermelons in the diet helps to get rid of mood swings and general malaise. Watermelon seeds are used to obtain oil, which is used both for ingestion and in cosmetologists to combat skin problems.

Drinking watermelons during pregnancy also has a very positive effect on the female body. In some cases, it will become an indispensable product. It helps women who have a difficult time carrying pregnancy, in particular, those suffering from toxicosis, to overcome discomfort and relieve heaviness in the stomach. This is facilitated by the folic acid contained in watermelons, which contributes to the proper course of pregnancy and improves the general state of hormonal levels.

But at the same time I would like to note that you should not abuse watermelon during pregnancy. The amount of food eaten per day should not be excessive to avoid the risk of edema.

During breastfeeding, watermelons can be eaten, but only strictly metered. Eating this berry helps to solve digestive problems and normalize lactation. Only now you have to take the choice of product seriously, because there is a risk to eat nitrate watermelon, which can cause a quick and very strong allergic reaction in the newborn.

Imperfection of the digestive system of babies gives reason to reflect on the benefits and harm of watermelons in the mother’s diet. Observance of precautionary measures will help to avoid the problem that occurs in young children, which mothers call colic. Especially worth weighing the pros and cons in the first three months of feeding a child.

Good quality watermelon will benefit both mother and child. Its presence in the diet can accelerate the metabolism and increase the level of hemoglobin in the blood by stimulating the production of blood cells.

Watermelon for men is as useful as for women. The mineral composition of the berry has a positive effect on the general condition of the body and helps to combat bad mood.

I would like to note that many experts in the field of sexology agree that the use of watermelon, as well as dishes and drinks from it has a good effect on the urogenital sphere and potency. This is all due to components such as lycopene and citrulline. Many nutritionists advise men to use not only watermelon pulp, but also roasted seeds of this striped berry to enhance the effect.

Drinking watermelon helps to get rid of stagnation in the liver and biliary tract, improves digestion and digestion of food.

The use of such product as watermelon in cooking allows to diversify the diet and saturate the body with useful microelements and natural vitamins. Most often, the berry is used as an independent dessert, but many cooks have long learned to use this berry in the preparation of delicious dishes.

Juices and smoothies are prepared from the pulp of fresh watermelon, as well as other multi-component drinks that can quench thirst and satiate for a long time. This is due to the large amount of juice that contains glucose in an easily accessible and easily digestible form.

In hot countries, watermelon juice is frozen and used exactly like ice cubes. They are cooled drinks, but at the same time give the products a new delicate taste. Use watermelon and for the preparation of sweet alcoholic alcoholic beverages.

In the last century, and now too, many housewives harvested salted or soaked watermelons for the winter. Such a product becomes an excellent additive to meat and fish dishes, and also finds its well-deserved place on the table during food restrictions associated with the observance of fasting.

No less tasty are the sweets made from watermelons, and not only the pulp of the berry is used, but also the soft part of the rind, which is usually thrown away. These delicacies include:

Watermelon, like all other melons, is stewed and fried. The flesh of this sweet and tender berry is perfectly combined with cheese, grapes and meat delicacies, as well as other seasonal berries and fruits in fruit desserts and salads.

In the section «Tips for cutting» we will try to summarize the variety of ways and options for feeding watermelon to the table. Currently, online publications are full of various pictures and video tutorials, clearly showing how to do it yourself. Everyone is amazed at the virtuoso carving on watermelons, but rarely anyone tries to recreate these masterpieces at home. And this is because the watermelon for many is, above all, food, and it would be more eager to eat it than to admire it.

The easiest way to cut watermelon is to cut it in slices. That is how many people are accustomed to eat berry since childhood. Happy and smeared with sticky sweet juice — isn’t this happiness in the eyes of children ?! But over time, I want to become good cooks and learn to serve watermelon more aesthetically.

Actually make it easy. The easiest way is to cut the watermelon pulp with a knife into pieces or with a special decorating spoon., representing a hemisphere with a small hole at the bottom, form balls of the same size and beautifully lay them out on a platter, in a salad bowl or in an improvised basket made of berry rind. In each piece of watermelon pulp, you can insert a skewer or a regular toothpick.

You can also file a watermelon, cut it into small triangles and lay out how to serve pineapples. If you cut the berry into hemispheres, and then cut it twice across, you can get very convenient portioned pieces. If you cut a watermelon in a zigzag, cutting through the flesh to the very middle, then you can later divide the berry into two equal parts.

More complex options involve the supply of watermelon on the table entirely in the form of a flower or a more interesting composition. This is helped by all sorts of knives for cutting watermelons, which can be purchased in online stores and departments with kitchen utensils.

How to save watermelon at home before the New Year?

Want to know how to keep a watermelon before the New Year at home? Then this section of the article is for you! In fact, it is very simple and absolutely everyone can do it. The basic rules regarding the choice of watermelon for storage are:

  • the fruit must be ripened;
  • peel should be soft and smooth.

The easiest way to save watermelons in a private house, which has a cellar, a shed or a heated garage. In such circumstances, do not have to worry about the inconvenience associated with the fact that the watermelon takes up quite a lot of space. But if you think about it, then in most city apartments one or two watermelons will always have a secluded corner. Best of all, if it is a pantry, glazed balcony or bathroom. It is in these rooms that it is most often possible to maintain a constant air temperature, which will always be below room temperature. The optimal conditions for long-term storage of watermelons are:

  • air temperature not higher than 15 degrees Celsius:
  • humidity about 50%;
  • lack of direct sunlight.

The basic rules for choosing a watermelon for storage are listed below. Of no small importance will be the variety of berries, and more precisely, the time of their ripening. Early watermelons to keep fresh for the winter are unlikely to succeed. This is due to natural drying and rebirth of the pulp inside the fetus. The best choice for long-term storage of watermelons will be fruits of late varieties, yielding a harvest in late September.

Be careful about the appearance of the berries. The slightest crack, scratch on the peel, the trail of impact will not allow the fetus to survive for a long time even in the best conditions.

Store watermelons need like other melon crops. Proven methods that have proven themselves from the positive side are:

  • in sand;
  • in grain;
  • in the straw;
  • in limbo.

Having chosen the first of these methods for storage, you must prepare a box or container of a suitable size, dry it, and then fill the container three-quarters with sand. Then you need to carefully put there prepared watermelon, as if slightly deepening, and cover it with dried sand so that over the upper edge of the peel a layer of sand was equal to three centimeters.

The second method is similar to the first, only dry grain is used instead of sand. The third way is to line the box with straw, which is then wrapped with watermelon on all sides, limiting the impact of external factors on the sweet berry. The fourth of these methods of storing a watermelon until the New Year holidays involves the use of a string bag, in which a watermelon wrapped with burlap or any other breathable fabric made from natural fibers is placed. The suspended fruit takes up little space, so it is this method of storage that is most often chosen by residents of city apartments.

I would like to draw attention to the fact that the watermelon brought from the market or the garden plot should not be washed before storing it with any of the listed methods.

The benefits of watermelon for the human body are provided by the rich composition of useful microcomponents. Thus, lycopene, contained in large quantities in fruits, improves the properties of beta-carotene. This substance is simply indispensable for the prevention of heart disease and blood vessels as well as citrulline, which is present in the composition of the berries. In addition, citrulline perfectly strengthens the immune system, so it is advisable to include at least a slice of watermelon daily in your diet.

Due to its pronounced diuretic property, watermelon expels excess fluid from the body, thereby removing toxins that appear in the body during the breakdown of substances, and fiber, helping the intestines, removes toxins from it. For those who monitor their appearance, you need to know that fiber makes the skin healthy from the inside, and the juice perfectly tones the skin.

The easiest and most effective recipe for a face mask that improves and refreshes the skin: take gauze, soak it with fresh watermelon juice, and put it on your face for 15 minutes, then wash and smear the skin with cream. Several of these procedures will help restore skin radiant beauty and elasticity.

For women dissatisfied with their weight and trying to lose weight, watermelon is attractive because of its ability to control weight. Watermelon diet is well tolerated due to its high sugar content., however, its low energy value per week allows mono-diets to lose up to 6 kilograms. The weight will leave mainly due to the loss of water, but the figure in volumes will decrease. To replenish minerals washed out during the diet, you should drink mineral water.

Traditional medicine uses the properties of watermelons for the treatment of diseases of the joints, in particular, gout. Doctors recommend using the berry for treatment as follows: every two to three hours to eat three hundred grams of watermelon flesh. This should be done for three days. Other foods these days should not be consumed. During this period, patients notice improvement. The same method is perfect for those who suffer salt deposits in the cervical spine.

But not only the pulp of watermelon is used in traditional medicine. Peel and bones, too, there was a place. They are used in the fight against hypertension. Use these parts of the fruit as follows: dried and crushed to flour. As such, they are taken before meals one tablespoon in the morning and evening. It is recommended to wash down the product with a glass of pure non-carbonated water.

Dried watermelon seeds are used in the treatment of urolithiasis. For therapeutic infusion, one tablespoon of seeds is poured with a glass of cold water or milk, and then kept for six hours at room temperature. After the time the medium is filtered, then honey is added to it and drunk before meals. Treatment is carried out no longer than one month.

«Milk», obtained from the seeds of watermelon, diluted with water in a ratio of 1: 1 and used in febrile conditions.

Weight loss diets on watermelons are no less popular than the treatment with this simple remedy. All varieties of diets are reduced to one — the use of watermelons in large quantities. Some of them involve the use of any additional products, such as chicken eggs or breasts, as well as fish.

The most common diet on watermelons it is necessary to eat three kilograms of watermelon pulp throughout the day and drink about two liters of non-carbonated mineral water.

Options for watermelon diets are many, but the most common diets are as follows:

  • watermelon buckwheat;
  • watermelon-melon;
  • watermelon kefir;
  • watermelon-cucumber;
  • watermelon rice;
  • watermelon-cottage cheese;
  • watermelon and apple.

But the most effective is a diet in which eating watermelon is combined with rye bread. You need to stick to it for ten days, during this time you can lose about ten kilograms of weight.

The harm of watermelon, or rather, its main danger to the body, especially the infirm child, is in the nitrates contained in the watermelon. When growing berries, some people overfeed it with nitrogenous fertilizers that are hazardous to health. Harmful substances accumulate in its flesh, and once in the body, in the microflora of the stomach, they turn into harmful nitrites that can cause cancer. If the watermelon is stored for too long, this transformation can occur in the fruit itself.

With care, this berry should be used by people with high sugar, diseases of the urogenital system, kidney stones and those who retain fluid in the body. The berry is contraindicated to eat with dyspepsia and colitis. But sick with atherosclerosis in general can not eat honey and watermelon jam.

Many people like to eat black bread with watermelon, but this can lead to exacerbation of gastrointestinal diseases. In addition, watermelon can be eaten only two hours before the main meal and two hours after it.

The best varieties and their hybrids for planting watermelons in the southern regions and areas of the middle zone are considered to be:

  • «Light»;
  • Crimson Ruby F1;
  • Karistan;
  • Ataman F1;
  • «A gift to the north»;
  • «Shuga Delicates F1»;
  • «Chill»;
  • «Astrakhan»;
  • «Mascot»;
  • Skoryk;
  • «Boton».

All of them are adapted to growing conditions in the open field, and are also suitable for growing in greenhouse conditions. This allows you to grow them even in the suburbs and Siberia.

How to grow watermelon from seeds in the country in the open field and greenhouse? This question can be heard both from those who live in the southern regions, and from those who live in Siberia, the Urals or other regions, for example, in the Moscow region. We will try to give an answer to this question in this section. Read it carefully and use the recommendations. Believe me, you will be able to grow a good harvest of watermelons and please your household with a healthy and sweet berry, without fear for health.

The first thing to do in order to get a good harvest is to germinate the seeds qualitatively, and then plant the seedling correctly. For germination, select the thickest and shiniest seeds that are undamaged and heavy in weight. To discard low-quality seeds, you need to soak them in water at room temperature for several hours. All poor quality grains will float to the surface. Collect them and throw them away without regret. Discard the remaining seeds on the strainer, and then take up preplant preparation.

Treat the seeds with a weak solution of potassium permanganate. To do this, prepare a saucer or small glass plate, fill it with water and put some crystals of potassium permanganate in it. When the liquid becomes saturated pink, place the selected seeds in it. This will not only help to soften the dense skin, but also disinfect the surface of the seed material. Soak bones in the liquid for fifteen minutes.

After the time, transfer the seeds in a single layer to a damp cloth, wrap them well and leave it for three days. Moisten the cloth from time to time and ensure that the seeds are covered.

As soon as sprouts appear on the surface of the seeds, proceed as follows: for twelve hours, place the seeds in a refrigerator for hardening, and only then proceed to sowing. In order for the seeds to germinate as soon as possible, warm up the soil mixture to room temperature in advance. The best choice of substrate is the soil intended for growing seedlings in greenhouse conditions. Such a land has a balanced composition and the necessary acidity.

Each seed is placed in a separate cell. The size of a cup or any other container should be at least eight square centimeters. Sowing seeds in rows is meaningless, because plants should be injured as little as possible when transplanted into open ground or greenhouse.

Dip each seed a half and a half centimeters into the ground and carefully level the ground on top. Lightly sprinkle the cell from the spray gun with warm distilled water without chlorine, and then cover with two or three days with polyethylene or agrofibre. The latter, by the way, is a very handy thing. This fabric can be left around a sapling after shoot. To do this, simply cut through the cross-hole in the stem. Agrofibre will help to preserve the qualitative composition of the earth and will not allow weeds to get out of the ground, as well as help create an optimal microclimate and maintain the desired moisture inside the cup with a watermelon seedling. Watering the soil during this period is made as necessary.

Consider the time from germination to harvest and adjust it in accordance with regional temperature indicators. Usually the ripening of berries of early varieties of watermelon occurs after 65 days from the beginning of the formation of the ovary. In the middle zone, the cultivation of watermelons starts from the end of March.

The emergence of the first shoots usually occurs after seven days after planting.

Planting in the ground is made after three weeks from the appearance of the first shoots and they do it this way: carefully remove the plant from the cup with a clod of earth and deepen the watermelon seedling to the first leaf in the ground. Before transplanting the plants need to pour abundantly. This minimizes root injury.

Care of a watermelon after planting a seedling in the ground consists in timely watering and pinching the lashes, as well as feeding the plant.

The first thing I would like to note is that watermelons love heat, light and water. These conditions are created by him on bahche. Large areas of planting need close attention and proper care of plants, which requires a lot of time. If apart from watermelons you plan to grow a large assortment of plants, then start growing these sweet berries with a small amount of seedlings.

So, in advance, prepare a bed, the size of which should allow to plant watermelon seedlings in an amount of not more than two plants per square meter. Dig a hole for each plant about forty centimeters in diameter and thirty centimeters in depth, put in it humus, mineral fertilizers for melon crops and a little ash. Mix all ingredients with a small amount of basic earth, pour plenty of water and cover with dark oilcloth for several days. A day before planting the seedlings remove the oilcloth and allow the soil to dry.

Plant a seedling in the prepared well, gently press the ground at the base of the plant, and then gently pour the watermelon right under the root, holding the bush with your hand. When water is absorbed, sprinkle with a dry, soft soil.

Watering the watermelon should be regular: On hot days, water as the land dries out at a depth of three centimeters, and on days with normal air temperatures, at least once every three days. In regions where June frosts are observed, be sure to cover the bushes with agrofiber watermelons.

As soon as the first flowers appear, watering the watermelons can be reduced. Water as necessary and always loosen the soil the next day after watering.

Once every ten days, fertilize with complex fertilizer for melons and gourds.

When the ovary appears, fertilizing should be performed less frequently and, in some cases, should be stopped altogether. After the appearance of the third ovary, the watermelon lash is pinched at a distance of fifteen centimeters after the last flower. This allows the plant to begin the process of ripening the ovary, and not to squander power on the growth of shoots and new flowers. Cut off the shoots without regret, because it is better to have two or three large and juicy watermelons grown by yourself than a lot of watermelons the size of an apple!

The root system of the watermelon is imperfect, so all manipulations associated with loosening the soil and plant nutrition should be done very carefully. Many gardeners decide on such a crucial step as grafting a watermelon on a related plant, which is less whimsical in care.

How to plant watermelon shoots on other melon plants, you will learn from the video tutorial, because to tell in words is quite difficult. Summer residents carry out this operation in order to obtain a high-quality crop, because the root system of the watermelon is very fragile and superficial, unlike pumpkin or other related culture, for example, lagenaria or zucchini. Grafting allows plants to get more mineral fertilizers from the soil, as well as to be less vulnerable.

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