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Watermelons Come In Many Varieties

Watermelons are 92% water and are part of the family that includes cucumbers and gourds.  All watermelons start off with white seeds but as they mature the seeds can change colors to black, red, tan or even dotted.  The myth that if you swallow a watermelon seed it will grow inside of you is just not true, in fact the seeds contain nutrients.

There are about 200-300 varieties of watermelons grown in the U.S. and Mexico in different shapes, sizes and colors.  Flesh colors include orange, yellow, pink and red with beautiful rinds in shades of green with speckles and stripes in various patterns. The United States currently ranks 4thin worldwide watermelon production. There are about 50 varieties that are grown commercially in the U.S. and three quarters of those watermelons are grown in California, Florida, Texas, Georgia and Arizona with peak production from May through August. Watermelons in the store are typically categorized as Seeded, Seedless, Mini, Yellow and Orange.

Mini Seedless Watermelon

Watermelons are thought to have originated in the Kalahari Desert of Africa. The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt and is depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics on walls of their ancient buildings.

Sugar Baby Watermelon

Have you ever wondered how a seedless watermelon is grown? They are a sterile hybrid that was invented over 50 years ago by crossing male pollen for a watermelon, containing 22 chromosomes per cell, with a female watermelon flower with 44 chromosomes per cell. When this seeded fruit matures, the small, white seed coats inside contain 33 chromosomes, rendering it sterile and incapable of producing seeds. This process does not involve genetic modification. (source www.watermelon.org)

The rinds of the watermelon are delicate so they are picked by hand. When you are choosing your own watermelon there are three key things to look for. Look for a firm symmetrical watermelon that is free of bruises, cuts or dents.  Next pick up the watermelon and feel for weight. Lastly turn it over and the underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun. (source www.watermelon.org)

Earl’s is currently carrying the Mini Seedless red and yellow, Seeded, Sugar Baby, Yellow Doll, Orchid and Mickey Lee watermelons with new varieties arriving throughout the season. 

Mickey Lee Watermelon

Click here for some fun ideas on carving your watermelon and recipes for a summer party.  

Americana Basket www.watermelon.org

 

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