Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for Xigua: Yummy Fruits A-Z

Xigua (Chinese watermelon)
 Okay, definitely cheating here, I admit. Xigua is Chinese for watermelon. Pronounced She-Gwah, the rind is darker (almost black) in the photo on the left, compared to watermelon I'm familiar with, but the photo below is more like the U.S. version. Black, dark green, or light green with yellow markings, all have that wonderful red, sweet flesh and look absolutely yummy. (Some varieties have orange or yellow flesh, which is sweeter yet).

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 can be eaten in entirety, the flesh, the rind, and even the seeds (yes, even the seeds). Enjoyed as a fruit in the U.S. and elsewhere, in China the flesh and rind are eaten as a vegetable and only the seeds are considered a snack. 

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 is good for us, as you might have guessed. Since it is 91% water, consider it one of the best liquid vitamin drinks around, with vitamins C, B, and A....and lycopene. Lycopene is good for our heart and may be important for bone health. High also in citruline (an amino acid), scientists are still studying the benefits, but believe it may prevent excess fat accumulation in the body (now, wouldn't that be nice?) and improve blood flow, aiding the heart. 

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?

Watermelon Recipe

"Watermelon Salsa"

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. 

Watermelon Jokes

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 Song

"Watermelon Man" by Herbie Hancock (video)


Sharon M. Himsl

Writer/Author. Blogging since 2011. 
Published with Evernight Teen: 
~~The Shells of Mersing


  1. Love the watermelon jokes! "Xigua" seems like it'd be fun to say... :)

  2. Watermelons are called 'suika' in Japanese, and it sounds somewhat similar to the Chinese word, 'Xigua.' Probably, the Japanese word comes from Chinese.

    The photo of the 'waterfelon' cat is hilarious.
    This is a great post.

    1. Neat, thanks for sharing this, Romi. It does make sense.

  3. I love the picture of the man surrounded by hundreds of big watermelons.

  4. The Chinese love watermelon. We had it every lunch and dinner at the end of the meal.

  5. I love watermelon on a hot day. I can eat and eat:) I did not know how to check if a watermelon is ripe or good to choose so very helpful hints. I didn't know that it stops ripening after being picked-good to know

    1. I learned this as well. Soon we'll have some of those hot days...and looking forward to it!

  6. I guess China is a good place to go for the letter X. I loved this post, so much fun. I like this big fruit too.

    1. X was a bit tricky. It was fun learning Chinese, too.

  7. That's one way to take care of X... We don't get watermelon much anymore. My sister-in-law is allergic.

    Liz A. from Laws of Gravity

    1. sure worked great. I"d miss watermelon...too bad she has allergies.

  8. I think this is a good one for X! Just don't get caught banging on all of them in the grocery store. :)


    1. Thanks....ha-ha...I'm definitely going check more closely in the stores.

  9. Good one and I still think it qualifies as a great X post; and I learned something new today! I too love watermelon, especially on a hot summer day!


    1. Thanks, Betty. One more day to go in the A-Z!!

  10. Sharon - I don't think you were cheating at all. That's what I say when my friends protest every time I use a German word when playing scrabble; it's a word, I insist. Love Watermelon, ahem, I mean Xigua.

    1. Ha-ha. Good to know, Inge. Thanks for visiting again!

  11. Hi Sharon .. Xigua - clever find ... and interesting to read more about watermelons ... I love them - but it's slightly impractical for one ... still perhaps I'll juice it next time ... Good to know the seeds are edible too ..

    Cheers Hilary

    1. I wonder if you could freeze some and then save for juice drinks.

  12. I love watermelon too an watermelon art. There are some amazing creations out there. Yummy! Maria, Delight Directed Living

    1. I was pretty impressed with the food art I discovered.

  13. I love the jokes! Watermelon has never been my favorite, but it does remind me of summertime and good childhood memories.

  14. This made me hold my belly while I laughed. And it made me remember my grandmother's wonderful watermelon rind pickles. I made them a few years ago and haven't since. Guess it's time to think about that again. Here's to finishing the A to Z with style!

  15. Hi human, Sharon,

    What a melon a watermelon is. Now that you made mention that the nutrition levels go up, the riper it becomes, I shall now give my human, or whatever he is, a piece of rotting watermelon.

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar! :)


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You could call me an eternal optimist, but I'm really just a dreamer. l believe in dream fulfillment, because 'sometimes' dreams come true. This is a blog about my journey as a writer and things that inspire and motivate me.