Silly Food Fact
Just how big can a watermelon grow? Well, the world record is a colossal 268 pounds, grown in Arkansas in 2005. On the other side of the scale, a mature watermelon can be as tiny as 1 pound. There are an unbelievable 1200 varieties of watermelon, and they aren’t always red inside: you can find yellow, orange, and white watermelon. Seedless varieties dominate; only 20% of melons sold have the familiar small, black seeds.
Why Our Bodies Love It
A watermelon contains 92% water by weight, which makes it a perfect thirst-quenching food on a hot, summer day. Vitamins A and C are abundant in watermelon, as well as vitamin B6 and thiamin. The bright red watermelon color is due to beta carotene, which gives cancer-fighting health benefits, and also lycopene, a powerful antioxidant.
Care and Picking
Obviously, watermelon need a lot of space in your garden! They love well-drained soil and need at least 6 hours of direct sun daily. After the flowers bloom, don’t overwater. In fact, watermelon becomes sweeter if you back off watering a week before harvest. To test ripeness, thump the melon, and listen for a dull, hollow noise.
Tips and Warnings
When growing watermelon, keep vines away from the melons, and especially don’t let the fruit sit on top of a vine. The vine will rot, and decay will spread to the fruit. After picking (or buying) a watermelon, store it uncut at 55 degrees or above—not in the refrigerator. Prior to eating, the melon certainly can be briefly cooled in the refrigerator to give that juicy, refreshingly-cool flavor.
Feeling crazy? These people went watermelon crazy! For some fun carving ideas, check out these watermelon masterpieces!