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The First Watermelon Harvest Was 5000 Years Ago In Egypt

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Watermelon is the perfect fruit to enjoy on August 3rd.  It is also National Watermelon Day. Enjoyed by many, it is a favorite at summertime events such as picnics and fairs.  Watermelon is 92% water, which is why it is so refreshing.

Watermelon is a vine-like flowering plant originally from southern Africa. Its fruit, which is also called watermelon, is a special kind referred to by botanists as a pepo, a berry which has a thick rind (exocarp) and fleshy center (mesocarp and endocarp). Pepos are derived from an inferior ovary and are characteristic of the Cucurbitaceae. The watermelon fruit, loosely considered a type of melon – although not in the genus Cucumis – has a smooth exterior rind (usually green with dark green stripes or yellow spots) and a juicy, sweet interior flesh (usually deep red to pink, but sometimes orange, yellow, or white).

The fruit was likely first cultivated for its ability to hold plentiful water in a desert landscape, especially since the wild melon was bitter or tasteless.  Seeds and art found in tombs of Pharaohs are substantial evidence of the watermelon’s value. Cultivation and breeding brought out the better qualities of sweet and tender fruit we enjoy today.

Watermelons can grow enormous, and you will find competitions across the country which award prizes each year for the largest one.  The Guinness Book of World Records states that the heaviest watermelon weighed 350.5 lb and was grown by Chris Kent (USA) of Sevierville, Tennessee. To learn more refreshing watermelon facts, check out www.watermelon.org.

  1. By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S., followed by cantaloupe and honeydew.
  2. The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt.
  3. Watermelon’s official name is Citrullus Lanatus of the botanical family Curcurbitaceae. It is cousins to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
  4. Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.
  5. By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S., followed by cantaloupe and honeydew.
  6. Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.
  7. The first cookbook published in the U.S. in 1776 contained a recipe for watermelon rind pickles.

Sources:

National Day Calendar

Foodimentary

The Optical Vision Site

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