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Watermelons – Some Latent Truths Revealed

A slice of chilled watermelon on a scorching summer day can be categorically be christened as ‘ultimate relaxation’. Right indeed, watermelons are fantastic rejuvenators during warm sunny days. That’s the reason why over 96 countries are engaged in growing watermelons today. In China, Japan Turkey, Russia, Egypt, Mediterranean countries and the US, watermelons are in fantastic demand. Among them, China tops the list of watermelon producers. But, the consumption pattern of watermelons in these countries varies according to cultural as well as social backgrounds.

With more and more people inclined towards leading a healthy lifestyle, watermelon diets are gaining huge popularity, especially in the US. Containing more than 92% water, watermelons are low in calories and high in essential vitamins (Vit A, Vit C, Vit B1, Vit B6) and minerals like potassium and magnesium. These nutrients help the body to fight prostrate, control blood pressure level, lower cholesterol, prevent the occurrence of strokes, and promote weight loss. This healthy food thus finds its way into nearly every kitchen in the world. In the US, chilled watermelons are a favorite. In China, watermelons are consumed as snacks where they are stir-fried, stewed or even pickled. Pickled watermelon is also very well loved in Ukraine, Russia and Romania.

The health benefits of watermelons have always been acknowledged worldwide. But have you spared a thought about some of the uncommon facts associated with watermelons? Quite likely, the answer would be negative. To start with, the word ‘watermelon’ first appeared in the English dictionary in 1615. The scientific name of watermelon is Citrullus lanatus, thus hinting its relation to the botanical family of Cucurbit. Though a fruit, watermelon is a member of the gourd family and is closely related to pumpkins, squash, zucchini, etc. A glance at the pages of history reveals that the first ever watermelon harvest was recorded 5000 years back in Egypt. Historical records also narrate an fascinating event associated with watermelons. It is said that a watermelon was thrown at the Roman Governor Demosthenes during a political debate. In answer, he picked up the fruit and thanked the thrower for providing him with a helmet as he fought for the Philip of Macedonia.

There are a few more fascinating facts associated with watermelons. According to food historian, John Martin Taylor, the early Greek settlers introduced the method of pickling watermelon to Charleston, South Carolina. In 1990, Bill Carson, of Arrington, Tennessee, grew the largest watermelon at 262 pounds; it remains on the record books, according to the 1998 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. The early explorers used watermelons as canteens. The taste of this red fruit is often paired with the salty taste of feta cheese in Israel and Egypt. An ideal health food, watermelons are produced in huge quantities. In 1999, a record 4 billion pounds of watermelons were produced in the United States alone.

An incredible variety of watermelons are grown all over the world. There are around 1,200 varieties of watermelons grown all over the world. Of them 200 to 300 varieties of watermelons are grown in the US and Mexico, out of which 50 varieties are most well loved. There are around four major types of watermelons- the Picnic type, the Icebox type, the Seedless type, and the Yellow Flesh type. The Picnic variety watermelons are generally oblong and weigh between 12 to 50 pounds. Icebox varieties are smaller because they’re designed to fit into a refrigerator. Some expertise is required to pick out the best watermelon. Ideally, a watermelon should be ‘slapped’ not thumped to judge its ripeness. A hollow sound will indicate that the melon is perfect for consumption.

Watermelons have made inroads into the cultural fabric of a few nations too. In China and Japan, watermelons serve as a well loved gift to bring to a host. Contrary to well loved belief, intake of sundiacorp.com watermelon seeds does not lead to the growth of a watermelon in your stomach :) While most of us associate watermelons with the American Day of Independence (4th of July), apple pies, and picnics, it is really consumed more in other countries. China consumes 30 times more watermelons than the United States of America. These figures clearly reveal the huge popularity of watermelons in the international market today. Awareness about the health benefits of watermelons among the masses in general has given a remarkable boost to its consumption as well as production.

Suzanne Macguire is an Internet marketing professional with expertise in content development and technical writing in a variety of industries.

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