WATERMELON. WATERMELON. Watermelon is a thirst quenching, crunchy summer treat with loads of health benefits. It is low in calories but rich in nutrients. It is an excellent source of Lycopene (an antioxidant effective in preventing cancer and heart disease), Vitamin C and Vitamin A.
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Watermelon is a thirst quenching, crunchy summer treat with loads of health benefits.
It is low in calories but rich in nutrients. It is an excellent source of Lycopene (an antioxidant effective in preventing cancer and heart disease), Vitamin C and Vitamin A.
Watermelon is thought to have originated in the Kalahari Desert of Africa. The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt. Watermelon is depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics on walls of their ancient buildings. It was often placed in the burial tombs of the kings to nourish them in the afterlife.
From Egypt watermelon spread by merchant ships to countries along the Mediterranean Sea. By the 10th century watermelon had found its way to China, which is now the world’s number one producer of watermelons. The 13th century found watermelon spread throughout the rest of Europe by the Moors.
Southern food historian, John Egerton, believes watermelon made its way to the United States with African slaves.
The United States currently ranks fourth in worldwide production of watermelon. Forty- four states grow watermelon with Florida, Texas, California, Georgia and Arizona leading in production.
Watermelons are part of the botanical family Cucurbitaceae. They are related to cantaloupes, cucumbers, pumpkins, squash and other plants that grow on vines on the ground. Watermelon can be round, oblong or spherical in shape; with red, orange or yellow flesh; with thick green rind that is spotted or stripped; and with or without seeds.
Watermelons generally weigh 5 to 20 pounds, but in 1990 Bill Carson of Arrington, Tennessee grew the largest watermelon on record at 262 pounds.
In Japan, farmers of the Zentsuji region found a way to grow cubic watermelons, by growing the fruit in glass boxes. This shape was designed to make them easier to stack and ship.
Before slicing, the whole watermelon should be washed with clean water to remove any bacteria. The flavor of watermelon is best enjoyed raw. Heat decreases the flavor and softens the texture. It tastes best icy cold in smoothies, slushes or simply eaten in slices or from the rind.
References on Watermelon
Literature Links for Watermelon
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