What is this? Eggplant? Currant? Cherry? No, of course, this is he – a charming minke whale, which has been living in cages near roads since the end of July or reclining under the canopy of air conditioners in supermarkets. Watermelon. Why is he the berry of two seasons? Because although the most desperate specimens of it appear almost in the middle of summer, it is best to start eating watermelons from the end of August – the beginning of September.
the historical homeland of the Russian watermelon, of course, is the Astrakhan province. Here it began to be cultivated in the 7th-8th centuries. The Russian name watermelon was derived from the Iranian word “harbyuza”, which means melon, or “huge cucumber”. And the variety “Astrakhan” in Soviet times was bred by crossing two varieties: “Melitopol-142” and the American “Charlstone”.
even experienced melon growers cannot, with a 100% guarantee, determine the ripeness of a watermelon by its appearance.
Watermelon is a plant in the gourd family.
this is a large false berry (how could scientists call this the largest berry, truth and revelation among berries, I wonder?).
in 2003 Specialists have inoculated wild watermelon with fructose, the sweetest of all types of sugar, and thus brought out a new type of this berry, which contains 20-40% fewer calories than ordinary watermelon.
in 2005, cubic watermelons appeared on sale for the first time in China and Japan. According to the advertising slogan, “these watermelons are ideal for storage in the refrigerator.” Such a miracle cost about 90 US dollars. To give the berry a cubic shape, the farmers growing it, placed watermelons during growth in glass boxes. According to manufacturers, in addition to the convenience of storage, square watermelons are good because they do not roll off the table. However, there is no limit to perfection: farmers are already successfully growing pyramidal watermelons. And how impressive they look on the table!
Watermelon: taste and benefits
There are practically no contraindications for the use of watermelon. Watermelon consists of water (up to 80 percent of the fruit weight), fructose, trace elements and vegetable fiber. And since 30-40 g of fructose is absorbed by the body without the cost of insulin, even patients with insulin-dependent diabetes can eat watermelon – they are not forbidden to eat 200-300 g of watermelon per day.
Watermelon is a storehouse of magnesium, which is important for the stability of blood pressure in the body, for bile secretion and deactivation of cholesterol, for binding oxalic acid salts (oxalates) and preventing the formation of kidney stones, to reduce nervous excitability, relieve muscle spasms, and normalize intestinal motility. To pay off the daily human need for magnesium, you need to eat 150 g of watermelon.
The taste of watermelon is determined by its sugar content. The more sugar, the tastier. Watermelon sugar is made up of sucrose, glucose and fructose. Watermelon contains pectin, vitamins B1, B2, C, PP, folic acid and carotene. The seeds contain fatty oil. In folk medicine, watermelon juice and its pulp are given to quench thirst in febrile conditions.
The diuretic effect of watermelon is well known: it is recommended to eat with edema associated with diseases of the cardiovascular system and kidneys. A decoction of fresh watermelon peels also serves as a diuretic. When there are no fresh watermelons, traditional medicine advises using dried watermelon peel as a diuretic, from which a decoction is prepared in a ratio of 1: 10.
In case of liver diseases, it is good to use watermelon juice: it not only helps to remove fluid from the body, but also nourishes the liver tissue with easily digestible sugars.
Fiber watermelon pulp helps to improve the vital activity of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines (intestinal flora), improves digestion and promotes the excretion of cholesterol. Folic acid and vitamin C contained in watermelons have an anti-sclerotic effect. Watermelons are also used in clinical nutrition for anemia, gallbladder and urinary tract stones.
In 100 gr. watermelon 38 calories – this is the best news! Watermelon is rich in iron, necessary for blood formation, it helps with anemia. It is also effective in cases where a person is exposed to industrial or household (for example, alcohol) intoxication. For general cleansing of the body, in the absence of contraindications, the so-called “watermelon fasting” is used, when only watermelons and black bread are eaten for 3-4 days.
Watermelon: selection rules
Choosing a watermelon is a responsible and sweet business: it’s nice to see amazement in the eyes of the seller – he hoped, out of habit, to sell “the freshest and sweetest”, and you: “no, dear, but show me his earthen stain and don’t stick your tail under your nose. Too bad it’s dry!”
if a watermelon is pierced or damaged, it will not live even a week. Therefore, damaged – pierced, even slightly cracked – watermelons are absolutely impossible to buy.
dry stalk (tail at the top of the fruit) is not always an indicator of ripeness: a watermelon could be plucked green and then dry out. It is much more important to look at the place where the tail grows from, the so-called “button”. If it is convex with brightened callused edges, then this is a more sure sign of a ripe watermelon.
Contrary to folk signs, a green watermelon will ring, and a ripe watermelon should be deaf, because the sound depends on whether the pulp inside has softened or not.
if you squeeze the watermelon with your hands and it crackles, you can safely take out your wallet.
from below, on the side of the watermelon there is a so-called earthen spot. It is desirable that it be yellow, not white.
a ripe watermelon can be easily scratched: by running your fingernail over it, you can easily remove the top layer of the peel.
if the watermelon is large and light, it is ripe.
if the price tag says “Astrakhansky”, this may be the name of the variety, and not the place where the watermelon was brought from. By the way, according to some professionals, the best watermelons grow in the Bykovsky district of the Volgograd region. Real Astrakhan watermelons do not ripen until August. Ripe Astrakhans have a pronounced difference between dark and light stripes near the tail. And the “earth spot”, on which the watermelon lay on the melon, they should be dark orange, in extreme cases yellow, but not white. In Astrakhan, a trial harvest of watermelons takes place in early August, a selective one – in the middle of the month, but a massive one starts on the 25th, so the indigenous striped “Astrakhan” should appear in Moscow only by September.
never ask to cut a piece of watermelon for display – you are guaranteed to introduce an infection into it.
do not buy watermelons from the roads, at the entrance to the city, from cars and in other impromptu trading places.
the presence of nitrates is indicated by yellow (and not white-pink) streaks in the pulp of a watermelon.
choose a medium-sized fruit (optimally 5-7 kg), if you plan to feast on watermelons in a large company, it is better to take a few small ones than one kilogram per 20.
Do not take watermelons “on the cut” or in slices – it’s easier to throw out an unripe watermelon at home than toil with your stomach from a seemingly ripe, but inhabited as a microbiological laboratory “minke whale”.
before use, watermelon should be washed and rinsed with boiled water. Doctors say that nitrates on the surface are much more dangerous than those inside the watermelon.
If you want to correct the world’s injustice and eat watermelons for more than a month, try saving them. To do this, the fruits are hung in nets in a dry, cool basement or placed in boxes with ash.
Watermelon: delicious recipes
Yes, yes, if you suddenly (although this is hardly possible, but still) get tired of eating them just like that, you can cook watermelons. For example, pickle. For salting, they take not only ripe, but also not fully ripened fruits, pierce them with a sharp stick and put them in a strong brine (800 g of salt per 10 liters of water). After about a month, the watermelons are ready.
And if you boil watermelon juice, you will get very sweet, suitable for long storage. watermelon honey.
For thirsty gourmets, cook watermelon milk: grind crushed watermelon seeds in cold water in a ratio of 1: 10. Although it seems to be more difficult than bird’s milk.
For lovers of watermelon drinks, a wonderful ice: watermelon is cut into pieces, pitted, peeled and beaten. It is then poured into an ice mold and frozen.
And, of course, the famous watermelon jam: from 1 kg of watermelon peels, you need to remove the top layer, leaving the green pulp. Cut the pulp into thin pieces (any shape – at your discretion) and boil lightly in water. Drain the water, and put the peels in a syrup made from 1.5 kg of sugar and 2 glasses of water, and cook until transparent. At the end of cooking, add 2 g of citric acid, from which the jam acquires an emerald color.
Aesthetes will like it “Boats – forms for watermelon salad.” The salad is placed on boat-shaped plates. Cut off a piece of watermelon, peel it, cut off the rind and put the pulp on a plate – this will be the boat itself. Peel and peel the orange and place the segments over a piece of watermelon in the shape of a sail. Cut the kiwi in half, peel and cut into thin slices and place under the watermelon like water under a boat. On top of the “sail” you can attach a mint leaf, like a flag.
Cosmetics from … watermelon!
Of course, watermelon is good for external use as well. Purifying and nourishing mask can be prepared from the pulp, and from the bones of watermelon. If you prefer pulp, take one cup of watermelon pulp and beat until smooth. Place on face and cover with a towel. You can add yogurt (for oily skin) or banana (for dry skin). Wash off the mask after 15 minutes.
If all the pulp is eaten, then do not throw it away seeds: grind them in a coffee grinder, then add boiled warm water to the mass and apply the mask on your face for 10-15 minutes.
Skin redness, sunburn effective masks from a mixture of pulp of watermelon and cucumber, taken in equal parts. The mask is applied to the skin for 20 minutes.
How to eat watermelon?
Of course, in a narrow circle, you definitely need to eat watermelon with your hands, pouring watermelon juice on your elbows, spitting out the bones and laughing at the same time. That’s how decent happy people eat watermelon. But at a reception or visiting a future mother-in-law, alas, there are other rules:
Watermelon is served most often cut into slices with a peel. A slice is placed on a plate with the pulp towards you, and the crust away from you. They eat it with a knife and fork in small pieces, after releasing each cut piece from the seeds with the tip of the knife. A slice of watermelon with a crust is taken from a common dish with one or two hands, after which the fingers are wiped with a napkin. It is not recommended to cut slices of watermelon or melon into small pieces with a peel, and then take each piece in turn with your hand and eat the flesh from the peel, while spitting out the watermelon seeds on a plate.
But, to be honest, those who understand a lot about watermelons eat it only in this way – “up to their ears” drowning in pulp, spreading juice from their elbows on their faces and going out into the street in this form for a new watermelon. And, what is most interesting, everyone around them understands them. Watermelon season!