Friday, August 23, 2013

Watermelon, the Food of Angels

I'm still kicking myself for paying the price I did yesterday, for this one slice of watermelon.  I stood there at the watermelon display, debating with myself.  Pay the $2.12 for a slice, or pay $4.00 for a whole melon?

The last time I purchased a whole melon, we only ate about half of it, and the rest spoiled and got thrown away.

Not to mention, son Caleb, who usually eats everything in sight in typically massive quantities, does not like any type of melon fruit.

I suppose that's why I irrationally made the decision to pay this small fortune for the slice.

Although I cannot explain his weird aversion to any of the melon fruits, I, personally, love watermelon.  Of all the melon fruits available, it is probably my favorite.

I suspect my fondness for watermelon is not only due to its luscious sweet flavor, but also to the memories it evokes of past family picnics and fun times.

Practically every time I'm eating a slice of watermelon, though, I find myself wondering about the seeds.  Is it OK to swallow watermelon seeds?  I remember my father telling me as a small child that if I ate one, a watermelon would grow in my belly.  Ever after that I fastidiously dug and excavated out every single seed before popping a bite into my mouth.

Even though I know better now, the habit remains.

Rachel Vreemen, M.D., coauthor of Don't Swallow Your Gum!  Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health, claims that the seeds can upset your stomach if you eat handfuls at a time, but in small amounts, both the white and black varieties are harmless.

That's good to know, because the average watermelon contains 200 to 800 seeds. So, you've probably ingested a few throughout your life and been just fine.

I came across a little quiz about watermelons on the website Yumsugar and thought I'd see how much I really know about this fruit.  Each question is either true or false.  Test yourself and keep score - answers will follow.


1.  Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.

2.  Watermelons are related to cucumbers.

3.  Watermelon is thought to have originated in the Caribbean.

4.  The word "watermelon" first appeared in the English dictionary in 1737.

5.  Every part of the watermelon is edible.

6.  Robert Louis Stevenson famously said, "When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat."

7.  America is the top watermelon producer in the world.

8.  More watermelon is consumed in the United States than in any other country in the world.

9.  A large yellow spot is typical and welcome on the exterior of a watermelon.

10. Watermelon is prized for its oil in India.

I am embarrassed and almost ashamed to admit that I only scored 5/10 correct, or 50%.  However, I am at least above average, as the average score of the on-line quiz takers was merely 3.5 or 35%.


1.  True

2.  True

3.  False.  It is thought to have originated in Africa, in the Kalahari Desert.

4.  False.  It appeared in the English dictionary in 1615.

5.  True.

6.  False.  It was Mark Twain.

7.  False.  China produces the  most.

8.  False.  Again, China consumes the most.

9.  True.

10. True.

How did you do?

How do you know when a watermelon is sweetest for slicing?  If you have an iPhone, the Harvest iPhone app ($1.99) eliminates the produce guessing game with expert tips for choosing summer fruits and veggies.  It also highlights healthiest harvests by season and region.  Find it at harvest-app.com.

Now back to my original debate:  to buy a slice, or the whole melon?

Next time I'm going for the whole.  Perhaps the neighbors are hungry.


  1. I missed half of the questions. I don't care for watermelon. That makes me an outcast down here in the South. Hempstead, a nearby town, was once considered the watermelon capital of the world.

  2. The white rind tastes just like cucumber, so I avoid it. lol

    In Indiana, we had the sweetest watermelons from Jackson County. The best ones had laid in the field until the soil had bleached the bottom of the watermelon to a creamy tan color.

    In Florida, they aren't sweet. They aren't full of water, and they taste like pretend watermelons. Plus, they're not as large as a basketball and totally blue/green.