|Xigua (Chinese watermelon)|
Watermelon is one of my favorite fruits.
|Enjoying fresh xigua in China|
China is the largest producer of watermelons in the world, next to Turkey, Iran, Brazil, and Egypt. There are 1,200 known varieties (including seedless types), and it is the most popular melon in the U.S.
|Watermelons grow on vines|
Not all watermelons are edible, although in general, they have been consumed for thousands of years, and are known by different names. In Australia, one variety is still considered a "pest plant" in parts.
The origin of watermelons can be traced to southern Africa, and there is evidence watermelons were cultivated in ancient Egypt as well. By the 10th century they were being grown in China and in the 13th century also in Europe. Historians also know that Native Americans were growing watermelons in the U.S. Mississippi valley in the 1500s. Today watermelon is grown all over the U.S., but mainly in Florida, Texas, Georgia, and Arizona
|1990, Bill Carson of Arrington, TN|
(1998, Guinness Book of Records)
Watermelon size can vary a lot, as you can see on the right. In 2013 the record was beaten by yet another man in Tennessee (Chris Kent of Sevierville), who grew a whopping 350.5 pounder! Anyone out there in Tennessee ever grow one of these giants?
Watermelon seeds are also good for us. They contain iron, zinc and protein. Guess I don't have to worry about swallowing those seeds anymore. Did you ever worry about this?
Ever wonder about the ripeness of watermelon? Did you know that the riper a watermelon is, the more nutritious it becomes? I found some good tips on how to buy and store:
- When buying pre-cut watermelon, sliced or halved, make sure the flesh is the deepest color. Seeds should be dark, too, not white.
- When buying a whole watermelon, check the weight and surface of the skin. A fully ripened watermelon will be heavy with juice. Next, check the top and bottom. The bottom is the part that was resting on the ground. If fully ripened, it will be creamy yellow in color, not green or white. Now check the top. If fully ripened, the top will look dull, not shiny.
- Thumping the watermelon also works (at least according to some). A fully ripened watermelon has a deeper, hollower, bass-like sound.
- Uncut watermelon is best stored at room temperatures 50-60 degrees F. Unfortunately, a watermelon stops ripening after it's been picked. I didn't know this. Did you?
3 cups finely diced seeded watermelon
1 jalapeno, seeded
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
In medium bowl, combine watermelon, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, lime juice, honey, and garlic salt. Mix well. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Serve with tortilla chips.
Q: Why do watermelons
have fancy weddings?
A: Because they cantaloupe!
Q: What do you call fruit that commits egregious crimes?
A: A Waterfelon!
"Watermelon Man" by Herbie Hancock (video)