Can You Eat Watermelon Seeds?

Read this before you bite into a hunk of juicy watermelon this summer.

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.

Freshly cut watermelon slices
Kevin Reid/Getty Images

Should You Remove the Black Seeds?

No, you do not have to remove the black seeds. But you may want to because they don't have much flavor and are harder to chew.

The soft, white seeds are much easier to chew and are more enjoyable to eat than the hard, black seeds. "Although both are safe to eat, most people spit out the black seeds since they are hard to chew and make eating the flesh of the watermelon more cumbersome," Shames says.

But if you're too busy enjoying the watermelon slices to mess with digging out seeds, that's fine. You will be OK if you do swallow one. "If you've heard a watermelon plant will grow in your stomach if you eat watermelon seeds, don't worry; it's not true," Shames says.

How to Use Watermelon Seeds

You don't have to avoid eating watermelon seeds. In fact, you can use them in a number of different ways to enjoy their nutrition and flavor.

For example, you can roast the watermelon seeds. Roasted watermelon seeds are packed with nutrients, and they also have healthy fatty acids, like omega-3s. Plus, they contain potassium and magnesium, which help boost hydration and electrolyte balance post-workout.

You can even make watermelon seed butter. (Not sure what it would taste like? Buy a jar of watermelon seed butter first before you DIY a jar.) Spread it on crackers, bread, fruit, and more. Or you can plant those black seeds in your own home garden too, if you have the space for it.

How to Roast Watermelon Seeds

  1. Rinse and dry the seeds. They will roast best when they're completely dried.
  2. When they're completely dry, toss the watermelon seeds with a little olive oil or grapeseed oil. "To save calories, use a spray bottle and spritz oil on the seeds to help disperse the oil," Shames says.
  3. Spread the seeds evenly on a baking sheet; sprinkle with salt. Then, bake at 325 degrees F (163 degrees C) for about 10 to 15 minutes.

To eat, crack off the shells, and enjoy. Play around with seasonings, too. "For seasoning variety, you could add cayenne pepper or cinnamon and a touch of sugar," Shames suggests.

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