Watermelon

Watermelon

Plural:
Watermelons
Family:
Cucurbitaceae – Cucurbit family
Species:
Citrullus lanatus

Origin

Watermelons originally come from the steppes of south of Africa where they grow wildly in semitropical and tropical regions to this date and are collected by the natives. Being made up of about 95 % liquid, they serve as a kind of “water tank”.

Plant

The annual creeping plant, which is related to cucumbers and pumpkins, courgettes and sugar melons, has big tender-yellow blossoms from which gigantic fruits develop; watermelons can grow up to 20 kg in size. Different to sugar melons, the seeds — up to 1000 in the number — are spread throughout the entire flesh.

Cultivation

Today, watermelons are cultivated worldwide: In Turkey or in Greece they have turned into to a kind of “national fruit”, the first specimens come as as early as spring from Spain and Japan one has bred seedless varieties.

Importations

All the year round: Spain delivers from the end of March until the end of October with the busy season being from April to August; Italy from the end of July; Turkey from May until September; Greece from June until September; Cyprus from April until September; France from June until August; Israel from April to July; Hungary from middle of July until September; Egypt from March until April.

Fruit

Edible:
The flesh.
Inedible:
Te skin.
Better remove:
The seeds.
Flavour:
It is slightly sweet and fruity, but also light acidic and sometimes a little unsavoury.
Weight:
Up to 5 kg.
Size:
They can be roundish or cylindric.
Skin:
It is thick and, depending on the variety, coloured evenly dark green, shiny green with yellow stripes or green-yellow with dark green stripes.
Pulp:
Depending on the variety, it can be coloured intensely salmon, bright red or yellow; with numerous small black and white seminal cores; delicate, somewhat granulous and very juicy.
Ripeness:
The fruits make a thump if you strongly knock it with a finger, there may be a light yellow spot on one side; the skin is lightly shiny.
Overripe fruits:
They become yellow in places and soft on the base of the peduncle or petals.
Unripe fruits:
If you do the knocking-test, they sound metallically bright.

Usage

They may be eaten raw, used in sweet dishes and salads as well as added to raw ham, salami and spicy kinds of cheese. In addition, they can be mashed as a sorbet.

Storage

Sliced fruit wrapped up in plastic film can be put in the fridge for 2 days. Post-maturation: at room temperature.

Tip

Overripe fruits can cause indigestion!