National Watermelon Day
August 3 is National Watermelon Day.Apparently, there is a national day for just about everything. We are, however, extremely fond of this particular fruit, so we thought we would pause for some watermelon reflections.
Did you know that watermelon is thought to have originated in the Kalahari Desert of Africa? According to hieroglyphics on wall of ancient buildings, watermelon may have been harvested as early as 3,000 BC. Often, watermelons were placed in the burial tombs of kings for their enjoyment in the afterlife.
Watermelons eventually made their way along the Mediterranean Sea via merchant ships. By the 10th Century, watermelon had established its presence in China. China is now the world's number one producer of watermelon. The United States ranks fourth in worldwide production of watermelon, as it is grown in 44 of our 50 states. Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.
There are around 300 different kinds of watermelon in the U.S. and Mexico. You can find red, pink, white, and yellow varieties in various sizes and shapes. Of the many developments in our world since many of us were kids, we count seedless watermelons to be in the top 10! Invented over 50 years ago, they have few or no seeds. When we say seeds, we are talking about mature seeds, the black ones. Oftentimes, the white seed coats where a seed did not mature are assumed to be seeds. But this isn’t the case! They are perfectly safe to swallow while eating, and don’t worry - no seeds will grow in your stomach.
The watermelon is 92% water. Its official name is Citrullus Lanatus and it is a cousin to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash. By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S., followed by cantaloupe and honeydew.
According to Guinness World Records, the world's heaviest watermelon was grown by Lloyd Bright of Arkadelphia, Arkansas in 2005, weighing in at 268.8 lbs. (121.93 kg). Lloyd grew and weighed in for the Annual Hope, Arkansas Big Watermelon Contest on September 3, 2005.
How to Pick a Good Watermelon
1. Look the watermelon over - Look for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents.
2. Lift it up - The watermelon should be heavy for its size. Watermelon is 92% water; most of the weight is water.
3. Turn it over - The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.
Did you know that you should wash those watermelons? According to the FDA, you should wash all fruits and vegetables in clean, running water before eating them. You should also use clean knives and cutting surfaces, and make sure you have washed your hands prior to preparing the watermelon for eating.
How to Slice a Watermelon (view our video)
1. Wash and place your watermelon on a large cutting board.
2. With a large, sharp knife, slice the watermelon in half lengthwise.
3. Cut each half in half again lengthwise, so you have four quarters.
4. Cut the quarters into slices.
At this point, you could leave the wedges intact – perfect for party platters, etc – or go a step further and cut it up into cubes.
There is no doubt that watermelon is a favorite treat for summertime fun. We really enjoy the Watermelon Summer Salad recipe that our friend, Tim shared with us last year.
We were pretty amused, however to see the watermelon used as an art form. Just check out all of the amazing watermelon carvings we have archived in our B&M Catering Watermelon Pinterest Board.
We hope you get to enjoy your watermelon in whatever form you like!