Watermelon is the perfect summertime treat, but stopping to spit out the seeds can dampen enthusiasm for the fruit. Skittish adults might get nervous about choking on the seeds; kids fear that a rogue seed will cause a watermelon to grow in their stomachs. But experts say you should have no fear — watermelon seeds are not only perfectly safe, but they also might actually be good for you.
Like chia and flax seeds, watermelon seeds contain nutrients such as vitamin B, potassium, magnesium, and zinc, which studies have linked with various health benefits. They are also a good source of healthy fats and protein. A one-ounce serving has 10 grams of protein — more than a comparable serving of almonds and as much as an egg or a serving of Greek yogurt, according to the Huffington Post.
Why You Should Sprout Your Watermelon Seeds
There's a catch, however: To get the full dose of protein, you have to eat the seeds when they're sprouted, and after you've gotten rid of that tough black shell. And that process takes at least a few days.
First the seeds have to soak in water overnight, and then you have to wait for a few days until they're visibly sprouted. At that point, they're ready to get dried in the oven, dehydrator, or sun. And after that, you can eat them as a healthy snack.
3 More Ways to Eat Watermelon Seeds
1. Watermelon Seed Oil: There are other ways to consume watermelon seeds to get their nutritional benefits. In West Africa, people make watermelon seeds into oil. Also known as ootanga oil or kalahari oil, you can cook with it, drizzle it on salads, or even use it topically on the skin.
2. Roasted Watermelon Seeds: You can also roast them — after spreading the seeds on a baking sheet, they need about 15 minutes in the oven at 325°F to make them brown and crispy. You lose some of the nutritional content that way, but they're still a tasty snack — especially when enhanced with a bit of olive oil and sea salt.
3. Raw Watermelon Seeds: Of course, you could just go with the classic way of eating them — i.e., along with the watermelon flesh. That's definitely the easiest way to consume them, and although they might not be as tasty as if you sprouted or roasted them, it saves you the trouble of having to spit them out while you're eating watermelon.
How do you eat your watermelon seeds?