cultivation of watermelon dates back over 4,000 years and was depicted by early
Egyptian artists. Europeans brought watermelon seeds to the west and American
Indians began cultivating the melon by the middle of the 17th century. Today
many varieties of watermelon have been developed including the popular seedless
types. Varieties change from year to year and are bred for better flavor,
disease resistance and other characteristics. Watermelons belong to the gourd
family, Cucurbitaceae, which also includes cucumbers, squash, muskmelons and
pumpkins. Fresh watermelon is refreshing, tasty and very healthy. It makes a
great summertime dessert and if you are diet-conscious, one cup of water- melon
has very few calories and zero fat.
Choose melons that have a dry gray netting over a greenish-gold rind. A
smooth scar at the stem indicates the melon was allowed to mature on the vine.
Sniff for a sweet cantaloupe fragrance.
Look for a clean stem end and raised netting as on a cantaloupe.
Pick a melon with a creamy, greenish-ivory color and a smooth, waxy feel. There
is no smooth stem end. Also sniff for a mild, sweet fragrance.
Look for a smooth mottled-green rind that is turning golden and softening. There
is a strong distinct melon fragrance present when melon is ready to eat.
melon has a tough, wrinkly rind that turns yellow when ripe. Fragrance is absent
in this melon.