It could be its bright red color, or its sweetness, or its juiciness; but no fruit symbolizes summer like the watermelon does. It comes as no surprise, then, that in the United States, July is known as the National Watermelon Month, when summer is at its peak and watermelon harvest is at its most abundant.
Nevertheless, there is more to the watermelon than just being a refreshing thirst-quencher during the sweltering days of summer. For instance, most people would not know that it is both a fruit and vegetable. It is a fruit because it is produced from a seed and is a type of melon. However, it is also related to the cucumber and squash, and grows from a vine like some vegetables do. Alongside its dual personality, the watermelon also possesses several remarkable qualities, as these fun facts would show.
- Watermelons are believed to have originated from the Kalahari Desert in Africa. Hieroglyphs written on an ancient wall in Egypt depicts a watermelon harvest that took place 5,000 years ago.
- China, the world’s largest producer of watermelons, has been growing the fruits since the 10th century.
- The average watermelon weighs between 20 to 25 pounds. Water accounts for 92% of this weight while sugars contribute 6%.
- There are more than 1,200 varieties of watermelon that produce round or oblong-shaped fruits that have either red, yellow, orange, pink or white flesh. The more common red watermelon is commercially viable because it is the most disease-resistant and the easiest to transport.
- Nutrients that are found in watermelons include Vitamins A, B1, B6 and C, manganese, potassium and lycopene, a very powerful antioxidant. Watermelon rind is also edible and nutritious, containing the blood-purifying compound, chlorophyll; and the amino acid, citrulline. In China, watermelon rinds are stir-fried or pickled.
- If you are trying to lose weight, you can benefit from making watermelon a part of your weight loss regimen. A wedge of watermelon only has 86 calories and almost zero fat (less than half a gram).
- Watermelon juice is an excellent and delicious way to stay hydrated because it is full of electrolytes. It is also an effective remedy for sore muscles.
- People from Egypt and Israel love eating their watermelons with salty feta cheese.
- The first American cookbook that was published in the year 1776 provided instructions on how to pickle watermelon rinds.
- Japanese farmers have devised a way of cultivating square-shaped watermelons. This is done by growing the fruits in boxes made of glass. As the watermelons grow, they adopt the shape of the box. Cubic watermelons are quite expensive, costing twice as much as the round ones.