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BONNIE’S GARDEN – Surprising Facts About Watermelon

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

Is anything more summery than watermelon? I can remember as a kid sitting on the patio surrounded by family with watermelon juice all over my shirt and face laughing while spitting seeds in the backyard. The only thing even remotely close to the sheer deliciousness was my grandma’s homemade peach ice cream.

Yesterday, August 3rd, was National Watermelon Day. So here are a few interesting facts about this delicious fruit—well, more about that in a moment.

Watermelon Facts

  1. Watermelons are technically berries! A berry is a “fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary.” Actually, watermelons, pumpkins, even avocados, bananas, tomatoes, and oranges are technically berries. On the other hand, a strawberry is NOT a berry but is botanically considered an aggregate fruit. Okay, I’m going to take a nap to recover from that shock.
  2. Watermelons are 92% water. No surprise there.
  3. Despite being full of water, they are surprisingly good for us. One cup only has 40 calories. They are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as beta-carotene. They are an outstanding source of lycopene—an important phytonutrient with anti-cancer properties. Watermelon is also a good course of l-arginine, an essential amino acid.
  4. Watermelons don’t just come in red, but also yellow, orange and cream. I just ate a yellow one last night. Delicious!
  5. A seedless watermelon is not genetically modified. It’s simply the result of hybridizing.
  6. Watermelons are native to Africa and, in Egypt, they were often placed in tombs to provide nourishment in the afterlife.
  7. Watermelons are part of the cucurbit family—meaning they’re related to cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins.
  8. The largest watermelon, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, was grown in 2013 by a man in Sevierville, Tennessee. It weighed 350.5 pounds!

Watermelons are both delicious and nutritious. What more can I ask for? Check out our Farmers Market on Thursday (from 10 until 2) for the best in locally grown watermelons and see me next spring for seeds to grow your own.

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