Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gluten Free Cooked Watermelon Rind Soup: the health benefits of watermelon rind, OAS melon allergies & saving $$!

Free of gluten, eggs, dairy, nuts, soy, seafood, corn



Holy smokes is this ever cool! This soup is more than a quadruple threat -it's super frugal, it's easy, it's healthy, it's tasty, AND it's a safer way for people with oral allergy syndrome related melon allergies to eat watermelon! (i.e. me)

And if you hurry, you can probably still pick up some watermelon from your local farmers market to try this out!


I picked up this super cute little baby watermelon 2 weeks ago from the farmers market, and I asked some of you on the Poor and Gluten Free Facebook page what you would do with it. You had some awesome suggestions, like making a salad with feta and olives, making watermelon vodka and cocktails, watermelon water, etc. 

But here's the thing: I'm actually allergic to watermelons. And not just watermelons, but all melons. It's because I have oral allergy syndrome, a food allergy related to hay fever, where certain pollens cross-react with related foods and cause allergic reactions to them, like itchiness, swelling, hives, stomach cramps and, for some people, even anaphylaxis.

In fact, as I was peeling, slicing and dicing this little baby watermelon, my fingers went tingly and numb. 

Tingly, numb fingers = a disturbing sensation, so if you have an issue with melons you might want to wear gloves when cutting and peeling your watermelon!

I should have worn gloves while cutting this up to avoid tingly fingers.

 The  good news is that the process of cooking and/or boiling can destroy the allergen proteins in most fruits and vegetables, making them safer for most people with OAS to eat. So I figured since the watermelons at the farmers market looked so good, I'd experiment with cooking it.

Some of the few cooked watermelon recipes I found online included Asian watermelon rind soups and pickles, and East Indian and North African spiced curry rind salads.


Is it ok to eat watermelon rinds and are there any nutrients in watermelon rinds?



Yes, it's okay to eat watermelon rinds. It's fabulously frugal, but apparently also super nutritious. As noted above, many different cultures have made use of them safely for some time.


And yes, watermelon rinds are super healthy.

According to Science Daily: watermelon rinds have a high concentration of citrulline (more so than the flesh). Citrullin is converted to arginine in the body. Arginine is an amino acid that "works wonders on the heart and circulation system and maintains a good immune system." Apparently this also helps with heart health, the immune system, and could be helpful for people with obesity and type 2 diabetes. 

Citrulline-arginine also boosts nitric oxide, causing blood vessels to relax . This has the same effect as Viagra, so watermelon rind might actually help erectile dysfunction!


Oprah says: "A USDA study found that the tart white rind offers a high dose of citrulline, an amino acid that helps dilate blood vessels to improve circulation. Throw the rind in a blender with lime and watermelon flesh to make an agua fresca."


In Chinese medicine watermelon is considered a cooling food which helps to heal "inner heat", a condition where people experience constant dry throat/thirst, sweating, skin breakouts, headaches, rapid pulse, and anxiety. (My father is a Dr. of Traditional Chinese Medicine)
 

Personally, I wasn't feeling the rind curry and I didn't have the patience for pickles, so I concocted a quick and easy soup. It turned out awesome, and I totally didn't react at all, once it was cooked!

And yes, I was surprised when I cut open my watermelon to find that it was actually yellow inside. That's okay, because it was super sweet.



The yellow watermelon rind chunks actually looked really pretty with the sun shining through/on them. They were almost translucent once cooked.


Later this week I'll tell you what I did with the inside of the watermelon, because I cooked that, too! So stay tuned for a recipe for watermelon pudding.


Ingredients:

2 cups chopped rind (use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to peel off the thick green outer layer, discard that or compost it and keep the white rind, removing the inner flesh to use for something else)

1 carrot, thinly sliced

2 cups gluten free stock

2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional, if you have OAS and are allergic to cilantro, sub with another herb you can have, like mint or dill, or add the herbs about 10 minutes into cooking, to help destroy the allergens)


Directions:

1. In a medium-sized pot, cook rind and carrot over medium heat for 10 minutes, until softened.

2. Add stock and herbs (or add herbs at end for a stronger flavour). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve warm or chilled.



Have you ever tried watermelon rind? What would you do with it?










This post was shared on the following great link parties: The Creative Home and Garden Hop, Musings of a Housewife, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Fat Tuesdays, The Hearth and Soul Hop, Gluten Free Tuesday, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Tasty Traditions

12 comments:

  1. How creative! I love recipes that use parts of a food that usually get thrown away.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Eileen, I just wish I'd figured out sooner that you can cook watermelon and the rinds, I would have been doing this ALL summer!

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  2. I took my grandmother's suggestion, and tried pickling it. But I never perfected the pickles to my liking. Maybe some day. Meanwhile, this idea to put the rind in soup is brilliant! I must try this!

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    Replies
    1. One day if I have a ton of rind I'll try pickling it, but I think this recipe worked out great! So quick and easy :) Let me know if you try it!

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  3. I have eaten pickled watermelon rind which was really delicious. Your soup looks wonderful, and it's lovely that you have found a way to enjoy melon.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks April. Good to know you liked it pickled, I'll have to give it a try!

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  4. So simple! I always hate composting so much--what a great use for what otherwise would be thrown away.

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    1. It's a great soup, I'm so thrilled I discovered it and the health benefits of melon rind :)

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  5. I've never seen anything like this before, what a great soup idea. I'm really happy to have found this blog, I appreciate the research behind each post regarding health benefits of different foods. Keep doing what your doing!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, gypsy moon! Always nice to meet another BC'er, too :)

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  6. Do you have recipes or good ways to substitute for tomato!? I have the oral allergy I've stayed away for over a year but sometimes I just get sick of what I've come up with!
    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kristin, I think it really depends on what you're using the tomato for, do you have a recipe or something specific in mind?

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