Wondrous Watermelon- A Fruit or a Vegetable?
Did you know that watermelons are part of the same family as cucumbers, pumpkins and squash? They really do get to be both a fruit and a vegetable at the same time! Amazingly enough, you can eat the whole watermelon, seeds and all; you can even eat the rind, but most people don’t enjoy the flavour. To make the rind tasty, you can always sweet pickle it – a popular dessert in the southern United States.
Parents used to tell their children that swallowing the seeds from the watermelon would cause one to grow in their bellies – a fun old wives’ tale passed along from generations of watermelon eaters! Watermelon seeds are actually quite nutritious containing high levels of magnesium, zinc, and protein. The high electrolyte and water content in the watermelon makes them perfect as a refreshing summer treat to quench thirst. They keep us hydrated, make our skin fresh, and clean the toxins from our kidneys. Nutritionally, watermelons contain elevated quantities of vitamin B6 (for brain power), vitamin A (for eyesight), potassium (for heart health), and vitamins B1, C and magnesium to protect against disease.
What would summer be without the juicy, sweet watermelon? It makes the perfect snack, picnic food or summer dessert. Watermelons are versatile as they can really shine in just about anything: salads, smoothies, fruit pops and sorbets just to name a few! Delicious alone but also an excellent ingredient in recipes because this useful fruit is the star in countless applications!
Seedless watermelons were first discovered over 50 years ago and you can find them just about anywhere! Watermelon plants are usually diploid meaning they have two sets of chromosomes whereas seedless watermelons are triploid. They have three sets of chromosomes and this odd number results in them being sterile and not producing seeds.
Farmers in Japan have started growing cube-shaped watermelons by growing them in a glass box where they assume their shape; originally done to make them easier to stack in the store, but now the novelty of cubed watermelon can fetch double the price of the normal one in the market. Mark Twain loved watermelon and always referred to them as “the food of angels”.
Watermelon counting games for kids are always a fun and educational activity. They can teach kiddies about counting numbers, number recognition, and fine motor skills. Make sure the kiddies pay extra attention during our Melon Month as our classrooms do cheery watermelon activities all month long, perfect to keep them learning all summer long.
Although watermelons are about 92% water, this refreshing fruit is soaked with lots of nutrients for your kiddies. However you choose to eat watermelons, always remember to have fun and enjoy the summer season with this nearly perfect hydrating fruit and vegetable.
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Chef Lisa Ruscica
Chief Food Ambassador