Can you eat watermelon seeds?
When I was a kid, I remember my grandmother telling me that if I ate watermelon seeds, they’d sprout in my stomach and grow out of my ears. Although this sounded a bit terrifying, my curiosity got the better of me: I ate watermelon seeds every time I got the chance.
Mmm. Nothing beats homegrown organic watermelon on a hot summer day! Make sure to save those watermelon seeds for cooking and for growing watermelon in future years.
Despite my grandmother’s warnings (and much to my disappointment), I was never able to successfully grow watermelons out of my ears. However, this memory of my grandma sprouts up every time I accidentally munch on a fresh watermelon seed while eating the sweet summer fruit. (Yes, I know that watermelons are technically berries, botanically speaking.)
Maybe that was grandma’s goal all along: plant a seed in my brain that sparked a fond memory of her each time I ate watermelon.
Sail to new culinary shores with edible watermelon seeds
Navajo Red Seeded watermelon seeds.
The Tyrant and I are food explorers. We love discovering new heirloom seed varieties and unusual edible plants to grow in our garden. We also enjoy exploring cuisines from other cultures.
A few years ago, we were in a Middle Eastern grocery store seeing what unusual foods we could get our hands on when we spied bags of roasted seeds that looked oddly familiar. There wasn’t a single English word on the label, but our suspicions were confirmed when we asked the shopkeeper what they were. “Roasted watermelon seeds,” he said. “Very good.”
Our first reaction: “Woah. Watermelon seeds are considered a good food?”
Personal-sized Navajo red-seeded watermelons, an drought-tolerant heirloom bred by the Navajo people in the deserts of the southwestern US.
Watermelons are native to Africa, but have been spread around the world by traders and merchants for hundreds or even thousands of years. As it turns out, plenty of other cultures don’t just view the fruit as a delicacy, they also enjoy roasting and eating watermelon seeds.
How To Eat Watermelon Seeds
Raw watermelon seeds straight out of the melon aren’t that great to eat. They’re crunchy, fibrous, and slightly bitter.
This is due to the thick seed coat that’s protecting the endosperm and other goodies hidden inside—and the hidden part of the seed offers the best flavor and nutrition.
Watermelon seeds are typically roasted or cooked in a wok and eaten similarly to the way we eat sunflower seeds in America. We like to use the watermelon seed recipe at the bottom of this article and eat the whole watermelon seed, coating and all.
Watermelon Seeds’ Nutritional Value
Want another good reason to eat watermelon seeds? Like other seeds and nuts, watermelon seeds are REALLY good for you.
Watermelon seeds are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and have lots of good fats. Also, watermelon seeds have an exceptionally high protein content. How high?
Watermelon seeds are edible and they also pack more protein than common nuts like almonds and sunflowers.
That’s right, watermelon seeds pack more protein per ounce than both sunflower seeds and almonds!
Organically grown heirloom watermelons
The best tasting watermelons we’ve ever eaten are the ones we’ve grown ourselves. As food adventurers, we love the wide range of colors, sizes, shapes, and flavors that come from heirloom seeds (watermelons included).
A few interesting heirloom watermelon varieties we grew this summer: (left) Blacktail Mountain – an early variety that grows well in northern climates; (bottom) the exceptionally drought-tolerant Navajo Red-Seeded; (top right) Ali Baba from Iraq – one of the sweetest melons we’ve ever tasted.
We grow our watermelons using organic and permaculture methods. Doing so ensures they’re growing in living soil that’s teeming with microbial life. Those microbes team up with the roots of the plants to provide disease and pathogen protection plus optimal water and nutrient uptake.
The result: the most flavorful, nutrient-dense watermelons and watermelon seeds possible.The seeds we don’t save to grow in future years become a healthy and delicious snack. Oh, and you can also pickle or candy the watermelon rinds so that no part of the plant goes into your compost bin. We’ll try to get a watermelon rind recipe up soon.
Until then, enjoy your edible watermelon seeds using the watermelon seed recipe below!
Can You Eat Watermelon Seeds?
Watermelon is arguably the ultimate summertime fruit. It tastes amazing grilled, chopped in salads, juiced, or just eaten plain at any barbeque. It’s also nutritious with antioxidants to improve your heart health and skin appearance, and the fruit’s vitamin C can keep your immune system strong. Watermelon is also one of the most hydrating foods, too.
Because watermelon is such a great fruit for all the reasons mentioned above and more, you might be in the habit of grabbing a whole watermelon every week at the supermarket in the summer. But there’s one trade off for slicing your own watermelon: you’ll probably be contending with seeds. Most pre-cut watermelons you buy from the store will be seedless, but the whole watermelons are likely to have their seeds still. (Of course, you can always buy a seedless watermelon, but they’re usually pricier.)
So what do you do about those watermelon seeds? Can you eat them? Read on to find out if the watermelon seeds should be skipped or made into a snack.
What Kinds of Seeds Are in Watermelon?
Watermelon has two kinds of seeds: black and white seeds. “Black seeds are the seeds found in a regular watermelon, and they can be planted in the ground to sprout a watermelon plant, whereas white seeds are immature seeds, so they can’t be used to plant a watermelon plant,” says Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN.
You may eat the white seeds without realizing it. “They’re soft and easy to eat and swallow when you’re eating the flesh of the watermelon,” Shames says. When you get a “seedless” watermelon, they’re not actually seedless because the white seeds are in it. The white seeds are also in non-seedless watermelons. So, these are totally safe to eat, and they’d be a hassle to remove.