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White Wonder Watermelon
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|Loo Loo Farms|
The White Wonder watermelon is a small variety ranging from 3-8 pounds, and is therefore referred to as an icebox-sized melon due to its convenient fit. It is almost perfectly round with a minty green outer skin that is striated with darker green streaks. The rind is slightly thinner than conventional pink fleshed watermelons, and they should be handled with care to prevent cracking. The juicy white flesh is almost transparent when sliced, and is dotted with small black seeds. Its texture is succulent and juicy with a classic sweet watermelon flavor and hints of refreshing cucumber. The sugar level of the White Wonder registers an impressive 9.9 on the Brix scale, higher than many other watermelon varieties.
White Wonder watermelons are available in the summer and fall.
The White Wonder is a variety of Citrullus lanatus that, unlike most watermelons, doesn’t have the traditional magenta red flesh, and instead has an icy white colored interior. The melon lacks virtually any pigmentation due to the absence of lycopene, the same molecule responsible for giving tomatoes their red color. Up until the 1800's it was common to find white-fleshed watermelons, but due to developments in corporate agriculture and public demand, they have been almost bred out of existence. The White Wonder and other white melon strains, such as the Japanese Cream-Fleshed Suika and the Cream of Saskatchewan, are returning to the popular market due to their superior sweetness and unique appearance.
Watermelons are not a nutritionally dense food because they are almost 90 percent water, but they do offer small amounts of Vitamins A and C and potassium. The White Wonder watermelon has only trace amounts of lycopene.
The White Wonder may be used similarly to any other sweet melon variety. They are best served with a slight chill and perfectly sized for a picnic or just a summer snack. When pureed, the White Wonder doesn’t have the appearance of a traditional pink watermelon, but offers the same refreshing quality, making them a unique addition to chilled fruit soups or beverages. Try them in a white fruit gazpacho, melon margarita or in a salad with feta cheese and mint. Complimentary flavors include, cucumber, fennel, lemon, lime, mint, parsley, cilantro, balsamic vinegar, feta cheese, goat cheese, pistachios, black pepper, chile peppers and tequila.
White melon varieties are descendants of the wild watermelon strains indigenous to South Africa. The White Wonder cultivar was developed from the Tsamma melon which grows in the Kalahari Desert and may be sweet or bitter depending upon the subspecies. Tsamma melons are not only an important food source for native African tribes, but also a natural water supply which is vital for desert life. While today’s watermelon varieties require plentiful irrigation, these original ancestors are very drought-resistant and may hold the secret to breeding new varieties that could once again grow in dry conditions.