The seeds of many fruits and vegetables are often discarded as waste or compost, when they actually offer a number of excellent health benefits and culinary uses. Like pumpkin seeds and squash seeds, watermelon seeds provide many unique uses in meals, side dishes and even desserts.
Cooking with watermelon seeds can be as simple or complex as the cook desires. For a simple, tasty snack, they can be salted, placed on a greased baking sheet, and then baked at a high temperature for a few minutes. Some cooks prefer to soak the seeds in water before baking them, for a heartier texture. The result is a crispy, light snack that is perfect for use in trail mixes, or as a healthy substitute for potato chips or peanuts.
Watermelon seeds, even when cooked, may be hard to chew unless the outer layer of protective shell is scorched off– a simple measure easily accomplished by running boiling water over the seeds in a strainer.
Additionally, flour-like substances made from ground watermelon seeds offer their own unique taste and texture. Ground watermelon seeds can be added to curries, soups, stir-fries, and other dishes for an uncommon and delicious taste. Watermelon seeds complement the flavors of rich spices and leafy greens in cooking, and they can be used alongside, or in place of, other nuts and seeds. They also offer use as a tasty thickener in spiced gravies.
Watermelon pudding and other desserts made from watermelon seeds capitalize on the seed’s use as a thickener. Ground watermelon seeds can act as a stabilizer in yogurts, mousses, pies, puddings, and other sweetened foods, and (not surprisingly) they provide a delightful complement to the flavor of watermelon fruit. Desserts become much more lively and interesting with the addition of watermelon seeds.
Another use of watermelon seeds is in tea, a use considered by some to have healing properties. Watermelon seeds can be steeped in boiling-hot water for three to four minutes, then sweetened with sugar or honey, for a delicious and unusual treat.
In addition to their unsurpassed culinary value, the seeds of a watermelon are useful in the kitchen because they are extrardinarily inexpensive. At some Asian grocers and health food stores, dried watermelon seeds can be purchased at only a few cents per pound– remarkable considering their versatility in cooking and their impressive nutritional value. Watermelon seeds can provide innovation and flavor to the meals of any chef.