THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WATERMELONS
Share these fun facts with friends when you get tired of seed-spitting contests.
- •They are originally from Southern Africa.They still grow wild in some places. The San people of the Kalahari Desert use them as an efficient water-transportation container.
- •They were popular in Ancient Egypt.Cultivated in the Nile Delta since about 2000 BC. King Tut had watermelon seeds in his tomb. The Bible mentions watermelon as a food the Hebrews ate during the Captivity.
- •Then they went east to India.Since about 500 AD.
- •And on to China.Since about 1000 AD. China today is the biggest producer of watermelons in the world. In Chinese cuisine, the rinds can be stir-fried or pickled. The seeds are also roasted and eaten as a crunchy snack, especially around Chinese New Year.
- •They were brought to Europe by Moorish invaders.Moors brought watermelons to Spain and France in the early 1100s, and they went from there to other parts of Southern Europe.
- •They came to the New World with African slaves and European settlers.They were planted at Plymouth Colony and throughout Latin America. Like horses, watermelons were so useful that they spread faster than colonization. Native people of the Mississippi valley were cultivating watermelons before they made contact with Europeans.
- •They went to the Pacific islands, too.Captain Cook introduced them to Hawaii on his first trip there.
- •Botanically, watermelons are a kind of berry.It's called a "pepo". Good Scrabble word!
- •The whole fruit is edible.Seed, flesh, and rind can all be eaten. We normally eat just the juicy middle part, which is about 6% sugar.
- •They are 91% water.So, yeah, the name is appropriate.
- •The flesh can be red, yellow, orange, green, white, or pink.They all taste about the same, though.
- •The largest ever watermelon weighed 120 kg (260 lb).A "Carolina Cross" varietal. Grown in Hope, AK. Yes, where Bill Clinton is from.
- •In Japan, farmers grow cubic and pyramidal watermelons.They use glass containers to shape the watermelon. They were originally grown this way to make it easier to stack them. Because they're harvested before fully ripe, they don't taste that great, so they're mostly used for decoration now.
- •The rind works like Viagra.A little bit. It contains a chemical called citrulline which converts to arginine in your body. This expands blood vessels, which is how Viagra works.