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This item was last sold on : 01/13/18
Watermelon are diverse, with over 1200 known varieties. The seeds may be red, white, black, pink, spotted or brown. Their thick, hard rinds range from pale to dark green and may be solid in color or striped. Large and round or oblong, the juicy flesh also varies from pink to deep red, affecting a Watermelon's sweetness. Often the deeper colored the flesh, the sweeter the taste. Watermelon's flesh contains about 6% sugar and it is comprised primarily of water.
Watermelon is available year-round with a peak season in the summer months.
Watermelon, botanically known as Citrullus lanatus, is a flowering and fruiting vine plant and member of the cucumber family, Cucurbitaceae. Since it is not a member of the genus Cucumis, technically the Watermelon is not botanically classified as a melon and rather is a specialized type of large berry also known as a pepo or false berry.
Watermelon is rich in vitamins A, C, B6, B1 as well as potassium. It also contains lycopene which gives certain produce its red hue and more importantly is being looked at for its potential ability to prevent certain types of cancer. Watermelon contains an amino acid known as L-citrulline which studies have shown can be beneficial in improving circulation by relaxing blood vessels which can aid in preventing post work out muscle fatigue if consumed prior to physical activity.
Watermelon is best utilized in fresh, uncooked applications. Its flesh can be cubed, balled, sliced into wedges or pureed. The large shell can be carved into a decorative basket and used as a natural vessel for serving beverages or salads. Pureed it can be used to flavor drinks or to make granitas, sorbets and chilled soups. Its sweet flavor pairs well with cucumber, arugula, basil, mint, citrus juice, peanuts, coconut, pecans and robust cheeses such as feta, romano and parmesan. Though not commonly consumed as a result of its bitter flavor the rind of the Watermelon is edible and can be grilled, stewed, stir-fired or pickled. The seeds as well are edible and can be roasted or dried and seasoned. Unlike most other melons, refrigerate Watermelon for best flavor.
China is one of the largest Watermelon producing regions in the world. The melons are grown not for their flesh but for their seeds which are an extremely popular snack food in China. The seeds of the Watermelon have long been consumed by both Chinese and African cultures as a source of protein and fats. The Watermelon is also the official state vegetable of Oklahoma in the United States.
The Watermelon is believed to have originally grown wild in the warm regions of tropical and subtropical Africa where it was an important source of water and sustenance. Seeds, leaves and paintings depicting watermelons dating back 5,000 years have been discovered in excavation of Egyptian tombs. Watermelon made its way to the Americas via African slaves and European colonists. Colonial records show that Watermelon was grown in Florida as early as the sixteenth century. The Watermelon is widely distributed throughout Africa, Asia and the Americas. The Watermelon fruit grows on trailing vines and prefers hot dry climates during the summer months.
Recipes that include Watermelon. One is easiest, three is harder.
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