It’s August 3rd, which means that it’s the day of the watermelon. Not honeydew, not cantaloupe nor bitter melon day... it’s watermelon day! What makes watermelon so special? Mr. Orlando is here to tell you some great facts about this juicy, summertime favourite.
Wikimedia/Watermelon with leaves and butterfly, 1763
The first known harvest of watermelons was about 5,000 years ago in Africa. There are drawings (also known as hieroglyphs) made by ancient Egyptians on the walls of their buildings that show they had watermelons. It is even said that they would leave watermelons in the tombs of kings who had passed away so they would have something good to eat in the afterlife!
The Guinness World Record for the heaviest watermelon was recorded at the Operation Pumpkin Festival in Hamilton, Ohio, in 2013. The watermelon weighed 159kg — that’s about as heavy as a reindeer!
Did you know that watermelons are part of the same family as cucumbers, pumpkins and squash? So that makes them a vegetable, right? But...fruits have seeds or pits and are usually sweet. So that makes watermelon a fruit! They're like a superfood — they get to be both! And the best part is, you can eat the whole watermelon, seeds and all. You can even eat the rind of a watermelon and it’s really good for you — but most people don't like the flavour.
Although there are many types of watermelon grown today, the most popular are grouped into four categories: seeded (with seeds), seedless (no seeds), mini (or icebox) and yellow/orange ones. That’s right, there are yellow watermelons too! You wouldn’t know from the outside but once you cut it open, you can see the yellow flesh — and they taste exactly the same!
Not ALL watermelons in Japan are square but they do grow ones in the shape of a cube there. They do this by growing the watermelons inside of a box. There is nothing different about these watermelons other than their shape and price — they’re very expensive. The idea for making them box-like was so that they would be easier to stack on shelves, in fridges and easier to cut because they don’t roll around!