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Living on the Watermelon Wedge

Join the debate: Is watermelon a fruit or a vegetable?

older woman and kid eating watermelon outside

Its juicy-sweet flavor indicates that it is a fruit. It grows from a vine—like cantaloupe and honeydew which are fruits. But, it is a cousin to cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins which are all vegetables.

It’s typically planted in a vegetable garden with green beans, tomatoes, and corn. So, just what is this tasty summertime treat?

Regardless of whether you think watermelon is a fruit or vegetable, there are a few things to remember when purchasing. Look for a firm, symmetrically shaped melon with no bruises, cuts, or dents.

Check underneath the melon for a buttery-yellow spot. This indicates that the melon has been sitting on the ground—and in the sunshine—to ripen naturally. Before slicing, wash the melon under cool water, scrub the skin with a vegetable brush, and then pat dry with a paper towel.

Watermelon can be found with seeds, without seeds, mini-sized, and extra-large. The inside is usually bright red, but can also be yellow, orange, white, or pink. All parts of the watermelon are edible. The inside flesh can be diced into salads, cut into salsas, or grilled on kabobs.

The juice of the melon can be blended into smoothies or mixed into a cocktail. Although the rind is usually tossed into a compost heap, this healthy flesh is also edible. Watermelon rind can be pickled, juiced, or stir-fried. It can also be cut into a creative shape and used as a vase for the centerpiece. It can be filled with fruit to eat or flowers to admire.

Watermelon seeds are not only perfect for a spitting contest, they are also packed with protein. However, before ingesting, they need to be sprouted, shelled, and dried. This process will remove the outer black shell and will make the interior nutrients easier to absorb.

The watermelon is heavy because it is 92% water—meaning you can eat your water. It is also fat-free and high in vitamins A, B6, and C. It’s high lycopene content makes it a heart healthy summer snack.

No matter how you slice and dice it, watermelon, which tastes best when it is icy cold, is the perfect treat on a hot summer day. So, celebrate National Watermelon Day on August 3 with this juicy summertime fruit!

Fun facts:

*Every yellow blossom must be pollinated by a bee for the fruit—or vegetable—to grow.

*Watermelon rinds were cut and used as canteens by early explorers.

*Although they look pretty tough, watermelons are handpicked to avoid damaging the rind.

close up of a bowl of watermelon

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Cut a watermelon into bite-sized pieces, and a Vidalia onion into small rings.

Whisk ¼ cup of red wine vinegar with ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil. Add chopped mint, sea-salt, and pepper to taste.

Add 4-ounces of feta cheese to watermelon and onion. Pour the dressing over the top and toss gently.


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