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The melon is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family with its characteristic fleshy fruits. Thought to be originally from the Middle Eastern region, the melon seeds were transported to the Americas by Columbus and the Spanish explorers. In India, these cooling and nutritious fruits are found in abundance during the summer time. Being lower in calories and having high water content, the melon is a refreshing and healthy food. The melon seed is, generally, a grayish white hard shell with a white inner kernel, which is soft and oval in shape. The seeds of the melon are rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, fats and other nutrients. It lacks any distinct scent but has a nutty and sweet taste. The melon seeds are used in baking, dressing of bread cake, confectionery, supari, sweets, refreshing drinks and snack foods. They can also be directly consumed after roasting.
How to select
The dried melon seeds are available in the stores. Melon seeds are laid out for drying, cleaned and these are then, processed and sold commercially. The seeds are sold in the shell or peeled for later usage. It is the white melon seeds which are used in Indian cooking and not the water melon seeds.
· The seeds are used for preparing delicious sweets and snacks.
· They can be added to traditional halwas and fruit fudges for enhancing the flavors.
· The melon seeds can also be used as mouth fresheners when it is mixed with nuts and spices.
· A paste of melon seeds are added to spicy meat dishes to thicken its consistency.
· The hard flesh of the melon fruit is not wasted either and is used to season flour for making exotic breads. White melon seeds are fried and then used in making various types of cakes
· Another innovative usage for melon seeds is in cereals and fruit puddings.
How to store
Store melon seeds in an airtight container in a dry and dark place.
· Melon Seeds are viewed as being a powerhouse of various nutrients, featuring essential fatty acids that are believed to be important for maintaining a healthy heart.
· These seeds are said to help in supporting both the immune and cardiovascular systems. They are believed to help in regulating healthy blood- fat levels and provide vital nutrients that are thought to be essential for promoting wound healing.
· The properties featured in melon seeds are believed to help sustain healthy skin, nails and nerves.
· Melon Seeds contain high amounts of antioxidants and are viewed as an excellent source of Folic acid, calcium, magnesium, zinc and protein.
· They also reportedly feature Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Iron, Calcium, Omega- 3 fatty acids and unsaturated oils. The calcium featured is believed to be necessary for maintaining strong healthy bones and teeth, and is considered to help in combating osteoporosis.