Did you know you can use the Whole Watermelon?
Use the whole watermelon
 Did you know you only need three things to grow a watermelon?

You need three things to grow watermelon: sun, bees and water.

Farmers generally grow watermelon in rows (8 to 12 feet apart) and in raised beds (4 to 12 inches high) composed of well drained sandy soils. Tiny watermelon plants from a nursery are transplanted into soil beds.

Honeybees must pollinate every yellow watermelon blossom in order to fruit. In a month, a vine may spread 6 to 8 feet, and within 60 days, the vine produces its first watermelons. The crop is ready to harvest within 3 months.

The rind of a watermelon is not as tough as it looks, so it is handpicked. Watermelon pickers look for a pale or buttery yellow spot on the bottom of the watermelon, indicating ripeness.

 Did you know watermelon is related to other produce items that aren’t melons?

Watermelon's official name is Citrullus Lanatus of the botanical family Curcurbitaceae. It is a cousin to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.

 Did you know watermelon has a rich history, originating in Africa?

The origins of watermelon have been traced back to the deserts of southern Africa, where it still grows wild today. The ancestor of the modern watermelon is a tough, drought-tolerant plant prized for its ability to store water for tribes crossing the Kalahari.

The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred about 5,000 years ago in Egypt and is depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics on walls of their ancient buildings. Watermelons were often placed in the burial tombs of kings to nourish them in the afterlife.

From there, watermelons were brought to countries along the Mediterranean Sea by way of merchant ships. By the 10th century, watermelon found its way to China, which is now the world's top producer of watermelons.

The 13th century found watermelons spreading through the rest of Europe via the Moors.

 Did you know watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S.?

By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the United States, followed by cantaloupe and honeydew.

 Did you know watermelon was a part of the first cookbook in the U.S.?

The first cookbook published in the United States in 1796, American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, contains a recipe for watermelon rind pickles.

 Did you know there is a watermelon controversy; fruit or vegetable?

For years people have debated whether watermelon is a fruit or a vegetable. Decide for yourself based on the facts below.

Watermelon is a Fruit
Like the pepper, tomato, and pumpkin, watermelon is a fruit, botanically. It is the fruit of a plant originally from a vine of southern Africa. Loosely considered a type of melon (although not in the genus Cucumis), watermelon has a smooth exterior rind and a juicy, sweet interior flesh.

Like the pepper, tomato, and pumpkin, watermelon is a fruit, botanically. It is the fruit of a plant originally from a vine of southern Africa. Loosely considered a type of melon (although not in the genus Cucumis), watermelon has a smooth exterior rind and a juicy, sweet interior flesh.

Watermelon is a Vegetable
Watermelon is a member of the cucurbitaceae plant family of gourds (classified as Citrullus lantus), related to the cucumber, squash, and pumpkin (Maynard, 2001). It is planted from seeds or seedlings, harvested, and then cleared from the field like other vegetables.

According to Webster’s dictionary, a vegetable is anything made or obtained from plants (2004). Since watermelon is grown as a vegetable crop using vegetable production systems, watermelon is considered a vegetable (Wolford, 2004).

How Watermelon is used as a Fruit or a Vegetable
Watermelon is popularly used as a fruit, to be a sweet enhancer or fun accompaniment to everyday meals. Like other fruits, it is commonly cubed, balled, sliced and enjoyed fresh.

In places like China, the outer rind of the watermelon is used as a vegetable – stir-fried, stewed and often pickled. Pickled watermelon rind also is widespread in Russia, not to mention in the southern United States.

Scientifically Speaking
The scientific name of watermelon is Citrullus lanatus. It is a member of the cucurbitaceae family. Life; Embryophyta (plants); Angiospermae (flowering plants); Order: Cucurbitales (pumpkin and melon family); Family: Cucurbitaceae.

About 120 genera and 735 species of Cucurbitaceae exist worldwide, with 18 genera and 76 species native to southern Africa. Hubbard squash, butternut, pumpkin, sweet melons and cucumber are included in the “Cucurbit” family.

All a Matter of Perspective
Watermelon can be considered a fruit or a vegetable. No matter which way you slice it, watermelon is versatile, healthy and conveniently available year-round!

For the full overview and resources, download “Watermelon – Fruit or Vegetable?”

 Did you know seedless watermelon are hybrids?

Seedless watermelons were invented over 50 years ago, and they have few or no seeds. When we say seeds, we are talking about mature seeds, the black ones. Oftentimes, the white seed coats where a seed did not mature are assumed to be seeds. But this isn’t the case! They are perfectly safe to swallow while eating, and don’t worry - no seeds will grow in your stomach.

So, how are seedless watermelons grown? Chromosomes are the building blocks that give characteristics, or traits, to living things including plants and watermelons. Watermelon breeders discovered that crossing a diploid plant (bearing the standard two sets of chromosomes) with a tetraploid plant (having four sets of chromosomes) results in a fruit that produces a triploid seed. (Yes, it has three sets of chromosomes). This triploid seed is the seed that produces seedless watermelons!

In other words, a seedless watermelon is a sterile hybrid which is created by crossing male pollen for a watermelon, containing 22 chromosomes per cell, with a female watermelon flower with 44 chromosomes per cell. When this seeded fruit matures, the small, white seed coats inside contain 33 chromosomes, rendering it sterile and incapable of producing seeds. This is similar to the mule, produced by crossing a horse with a donkey. This process does not involve genetic modification.

 Did you know you can freeze watermelon?

At 92% water, certainly watermelon will freeze. We suggest cutting into cubes and then freezing on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper for a sweet and colorful addition to beverages like lemonade and iced tea. However, you cannot freeze watermelon to defrost at a later time. Watermelon will lose its taste, texture and color in the defrosting process.

 Did you know you can store watermelon carvings?

If you would like to create a watermelon carving for a future event, we recommend creating it as close to the event date as possible. Once you’ve cut into the rind, it will need to be refrigerated. You can help keep the edges from drying out by covering with a damp paper towel overnight. Depending on the size, weight and intricateness of your detail, the watermelon rind will start to lose its structure after a day.

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Watermelon Board

Representing 1,500 watermelon growers, shippers and importers nationwide, our goal is to promote the nutritional, culinary and convenience benefits of watermelon.


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Whole Watermelon

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