Interesting Facts about Watermelons

Interesting Facts about Watermelons

The past week we have been considering this summers fruits, how to enjoy them, and how to pick a ripe one for eating. If you missed those articles here is each one you can link too:  Ten Ways to Beat the Heat with Summer Melons , How to Choose a ripe Cantaloupe , and How to choose and Store Watermelon.

Our last article was about choosing a ripe watermelon and how to store it properly. What do you know about the watermelon, other than it is good eating and makes a great summertime treat?  Read on for some interesting watermelon facts that may surprise you.

* Watermelon contains a lot of health benefits. It’s good for the heart and it is even believed to help prevent many well-known cancers.

* Some consider it to be a vegetable and not a fruit. While its sweet taste makes most say fruit, it is actually grown like a vegetable and harvested as such as well. It comes from a plant similar to what a pumpkin and other gourds come from. When the rind is used for pickling purposes or stir fried or stewed, it is being used like a vegetable. However, most commonly it is known as a fruit. The same is true of a tomato, seen as a vegetable, but is actually a fruit.

* Every part of the watermelon can be eaten.

* Watermelon is believed to come from Africa and was first cultivated as early as 2000 B.C. It is believed that it was used to refresh travelers as they traveled through Africa, and was also used as canteens. It came to the United States with African slaves, and the term watermelon appeared first in the English dictionary in 1615.

First seedless watermelon produced in 1939

First seedless watermelon variety grown in 1939

* The first seedless watermelon was introduced in 1939, by treating with acid on the blooming flowers before they were pollinated.

* It is said that, by weight, watermelon is the most consumed melon in the United States.

Japans cube watermelon

Square or cubed Watermelons Grown in Japan

* There are more than 1200 different varieties of watermelon. They even come in different shapes – including square melons grown in Japan (view latest news of Japans cubed-watermelon here…).

* If you have sun, bees, and water, you can grow watermelon. You will also need a lot of room. Watermelon is best planted in rows 8-12 feet apart. It takes about 3 months for a watermelon to be ready to harvest.

* Watermelons must be harvested by hand and not by machine because they are very fragile.

* August 3 is considered national watermelon day. So remember to eat plenty of watermelon on this day!

* Watermelon contains more than 90% water.

* The world’s heaviest watermelon was grown in Arkadelphia, Arkansas by Lloyd Bright. It weighed 268.8 pounds (121.93 kg).

* American comedian Gallagher became famous for smashing watermelon on stage with his Sledge-O-Matic. It was wildly popular prop comedy, especially in the 1980’s.

* Mark Twain once described watermelon like this: “It is the chief of this world’s luxuries, king by the grace of God over all the fruits of the earth. When one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat. It was not a Southern watermelon that Eve took; we know it because she repented.”

Everything you could possibly ever have wanted to know about watermelons. Where it came from, to how it is grown, its health benefits, and even how well liked it is by famous people. Do you have any facts you would like to share with us? Just leave it in the comments below, thanks.

Return again for information on Choosing the Right Honeydew Melon.

 

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How to Choose and Store Watermelon

How to Choose and Store Watermelon
With the onset of summer we start to think about summer fruits, like watermelon. This is always a favorite treat in the summer because of how refreshing and light it is. But, nothing is worse though than biting into a watermelon that has gone bad or just wasn’t ripe enough to begin with. So you want to make sure you choose the right watermelon from the get go, and then also make sure you store it correctly(check out our article on How to Chose a Ripe Cantaloupe).

Here are some tips from Mark a vender at our local Farmers Market to make sure you get the most out of your watermelon this summer.

Choosing the Right Watermelon

Mark says, “You need to decide if you want a seeded watermelon or a seedless watermelon. There’s no difference in appearance between the two watermelons. The only difference is convenience, though I personally feel the seedless watermelon has a sweeter taste than the seeded melon.”

Mark showed us the easiest method for picking out the perfect watermelon is to give it a little tap on the side. If it sounds solid it’s not ripe, or if it sounds thick it isn’t quite ripe chosing a ripe watermeloneither. But if it sounds hollow then it’s ripe and just right.

After tapping on the melon and hearing that hollow sound don’t pick up that melon just yet, Mark says take notice of the melons appearance. A bright, green-colored skin that’s free of cuts and is firm and symmetrical is what you want to look for. You don’t want one that is narrow on one end or misshapen, because this means it grew in bits and spurts. It should also feel heavier than it looks. Since watermelon is 90% water (which is what makes it so refreshing), you want plenty of water in your watermelon. More water means it’s nice and ripe, giving it a much sweeter taste.

Now that you have picked the perfect watermelon for your summer event, you want to make sure you store it correctly so it lasts longer.

How to Store Watermelon

Mark advises storing your watermelon is in a dark, cool place, like a basement if you have one. But if not, then the next best place is in the refrigerator. This keeps the melon from rotting. Not only does it keep it fresh, but the coolness will also make it a much more refreshing summer treat.

Once you have cut into your watermelon, you want to make sure you tightly wrap the opened end with plastic wrap to store in the refrigerator. If it’s cubed or balled, just place it in a tightly sealed glass or ceramic container. If you sliced it, just place some plastic wrap over the exposed edge. This way it won’t attract the other flavors and scents from the refrigerator and change its taste.

Mark says your melon should last about a week in the refrigerator.

There you have it – the facts on how to choose and store a watermelon this summer. Look for our next article on – Choosing the Right Honeydew Melon -.

 

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