In our part of the world, really good watermelon is only found in the summer. Sure, there is watermelon available other times of the year, but the flavor and texture are usually disappointing (crunchy watermelon, anyone?).
Growing up, we always had watermelon in the summer, usually the elongated oval type. My dad had the honors of cutting the melon slices. He always took a triangular plug out of the melon first, and tasted it before cutting to see if it was OK. He would always say “it’s really bad” as a joke, but then proceeded to cut it up and serve it.
When it was watermelon eating time, we were sent outside to the picnic table to eat. And spit the seeds at each other. The poor kids nowadays will never know the joy of picking those darn seeds out of the watermelon, “shooting” them by squeezing them with forefinger and thumb, or just spitting them out.
Some fun facts about watermelon from Food Lover’s Companion and other sources:
- Watermelons are native to Africa.
- One cup cubed watermelon contains 48 calories, 11 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram protein, and 0 grams fat.
- Watermelons contain a fair amount of vitamins A, C, and iron.
- Some people in Asia eat the roasted watermelon seeds. One quarter cup of watermelon seed contains 158 calories, 8 grams protein, 13 grams fat, 3 grams carbohydrate and 1 gram fiber.
- Some people puree watermelon pulp and drink it. A few years back, one of my husband’s co-workers, newly in the U.S. from Taiwan, shared 18 watermelons with her two daughters one summer because it was such a treat. They pureed most of it.
- A ripe melon sounds like a hollow “thump” when slapped on the side; the rind should be dull, not shiny.
- Don’t buy cut melon that has grainy or dry-looking flesh.
- Always wash the rind of any melon prior to slicing it open to avoid contamination.
- Store watermelon in the refrigerator if possible and use within a week.
- Cut watermelon should always be tightly wrapped, refrigerated and used within a day or so for best flavor.