Why have we been spitting out watermelon seeds all this time? They've got more protein than eggs and taste delicious, silly us.
Maybe it is a sign of our lucky abundance that most of us don't know (or didn't until recently) that we can (and should) eat watermelon seeds. Why didn't we remember that seeds are nutritional powerhouses? Why didn't we think of eating those from the watermelon before, rather than turning them into mouth-born projectiles to be aimed at pesky siblings?
Well, better late than never.My lesson came from seeing a package of sprouted watermelon seeds at the supermarket. Having already discovered the wonder of exploring the palatability of other novel-to-me seeds (like butternut squash), I thought, "huh, of course." And I got to reading and experimenting.
Seeds really are wonder foods. They are tiny little fuel packs waiting to sprout forth and turn into a plant – and because of that, they are loaded with all the good things, like protein, vitamins and minerals, fiber and importantly, healthy unsaturated fats.
Watermelon seeds are no different, despite the carefree fruit they produce. With 8 grams of protein per ounce, they have more than a large egg! They are also a great source of healthy fats, iron, magnesium, zinc, and other nutrients.
Alas, they shouldn't be eaten straight from the fruit – they are at their tastiest and most nutritious after sprouting. Sprouting also removes the black shell, to reveal surprising creamy seeds like those pictured below.
Sprouting takes a few days, but it's worth it. The Kitchn describes how to do it here; and the Vegetarian Times has an even more comprehensive tutorial. The gist of it is, you just need to soak them so that they begin to sprout; the seeds then emerge from the shells, and then you dry them in the oven or dehydrator.
Or, you can take a shortcut:
HOW TO ROAST WATERMELON SEEDS
If you don't have the patience, can also roast your seeds; though they won't have quite the same nutritional punch, they are still awesome. Rinse and dry your seeds, toss in olive oil and a little salt, and bake on a baking sheet at 325F for 10 to 15 minutes. They will still have their shell, so crack and eat them like you would sunflower seeds.