They contain more nutrients than the pulp of the fruit: about thirty grams provides 8 grams of protein and 13 mostly unsaturated fats, as well as minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
Seedless watermelons are increasingly in demand also in Italy, as well as in the North and Central Europe. Instead in Africa, in Asia and in the Middle East the “ordinary” ones are more appreciated, just because for the populations that live in these areas, even the seeds are precious: they are roasted and consumed as a snack (their flavor reminds that of walnuts), can be ground (their flour is used to make bread), or still crushed and turned into a paste useful for thickening and enriching soups. Finally, the oil extracted from the seeds can be used to cook and fry.
On the other hand, watermelon seeds actually contain even more nutrients than the pulp of the fruit: a portion of thirty grams of dried seeds provides about 160 calories, 8 grams of protein and 13 grams of fat ( mostly unsaturated), as well as minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. The seeds also contain various phytochemicals, including flavonoids.
This is why some scholars have already promoted watermelon seeds to superfood, useful to prevent obesity, arthritis, and diabetes, and to protect the immune system. The research carried out so far, however, has tested the effect of the seeds especially on animals: other clinical studies are needed, before being able to ensure the validity of these conclusions also on men.
Meanwhile, the seeds can become a healthy snack, rich in beneficial nutrients and also suitable for those who want to keep weight under control. Suffice it to say that in a portion of 30 grams there are about 400: even too many to eat at once. Instead, a portion of chips of the same weight contains only 15. A large handful of watermelon seeds contains about 55 seeds and weighs about 4 grams, for a total of twenty calories: much less than a packet of chips.
How to toast them
The seeds taken directly from the watermelon are not appetizing, because the peel is hard and bitter. But toasting them is simple. First of all, you have to choose dark ones and discard white ones. After rinsing them in a colander, let them dry well. Then, in a wok or in a pan, heat a little olive oil and add the seeds, and stir frequently until they become brown. Finally, a sprinkling of salt can be added.
Or you can distribute the seeds on a baking sheet (if desired, you can season with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt): they must cook for about 15-20 minutes at about 160 ° until they begin to perfume. The roasted seeds, as well as a snack, can also be used to enrich the salad, or combined with muesli of dried fruit and oats.