Watermelons provide cooling, juicy refreshment during the warm days of summer. But while they’re most associated with summer, watermelons can typically be found in grocery stores year-round. Watermelons are members of the cucurbitaceae family, which includes other gourds, such as pumpkin, squash and cucumber. Watermelons can be considered a fruit or a vegetable. In some areas of the world, watermelons are considered a fruit used primarily in snacks and desserts. In Russia, watermelon rind is pickled, while some Asian countries stir-fry or stew watermelons. To quench one’s curiosity about watermelons, the following are six facts about this beloved food, courtesy of The Watermelon Board.
Washing watermelons before cutting into them will help prevent the transfer of any dirt or bacteria into the fleshy center. An average 15- to 20-pound watermelon offers 90 six-ounce servings. Watermelons grow in warm climates and are harvested from Florida to Guatemala. Residents of the United States who want to enjoy domestically grown watermelons should look for them in June, July and August.
Seedless watermelons contain small, white ‘seeds.’ These are actually seed coats that didn’t fully form. Crossing watermelons that are a diploid plant (having two sets of chromosomes) with a tetraploid plant (having four sets of chromosomes) will form a fruit with a triploid seed three sets of chromosomes). It’s the triploid that produces seedless watermelons. Whole watermelons do not necessarily need to be refrigerated. But once cut, any remaining pieces should be refrigerated.
Watermelons are 92 percent water, and they’re the perfect carrying case for beverages. Early explorers even used watermelons as canteens.