In honor of National Watermelon Day on August 3, we’re paying homage to summer’s favorite melon by learning a little bit more about the fruit/vegetable (yes, it counts as both!). For example, every part of it is edible, even the seeds and the watermelon rind. And with that, it’s one of the healthiest and most hydrating things you can eat. Watermelon is named appropriately: one melon is 92 percent water, and is full of vitamins and minerals.
And as much as we love it in summer, watermelon is actually available year round. It is grown in warm places internationally from Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, Arizona to Mexico, Guatemala, and even Egypt, making it available throughout the year. Here are some more some fun facts about watermelon that makes them as interesting as they are delicious.
1. THE REDDER, THE BETTER
The redder watermelon becomes, the higher the levels of lycopene, beta-carotene and phenolic antioxidant becomes.
2. DON’T SPIT THE SEEDS
Every part of the watermelon is nutritious, even the seeds, especially when sprouted. Watermelon seeds are high in protein, magnesium, vitamin B and good fats.
Their reputation for good fats offers delicious health benefits, from lowering blood pressure to preventing heart disease.
3. IT’S HANDY
Early explorers used watermelons as canteens as early as 5,000 years ago. So turning it into a watermelon keg is totally acceptable.
4. THEY’RE A GIFT
In Asian countries like Japan and China, watermelon is the perfect hostess gift. Not only is it totally acceptable to show up with watermelon under arm, its powerful antioxidant properties make this a thoughtful gift and is considered a good source of friendship.
5. A TEAM PLAYER
Watermelon is both a fruit and a vegetable. It’s considered a fruit because it grows from a seed, and a vegetable because it is a member of the same family as the cucumber, pumpkin and squash.
It’s harvested and cleared from fields like other vine-growing vegetables. And it’s not just a melon, it’s actually classified as a berry, too. Now you can pay attention to where grocery stores place their best watermelons with its sweet taste and vegetable classification.
6. THE STATE FRUIT
Watermelon is the official state vegetable of Oklahoma. So do you think they lead the nation in drinking watermelon juice? One can only wonder.
7. PACKS A NUTRITION PUNCH
Watermelon is 6 percent sugar and 92 percent water, so it’s super hydrating and refreshing. A two-cup serving of watermelon contains excellent levels of vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. It also serves as a valuable source of potassium.
Because of its potassium content, it’s an excellent source to prevent muscle soreness. Its amino acids also make it a delicious workout recovery food, so cube some up for after the gym.
8. ALL THE TYPES
More than 300 varieties of watermelon are cultivated in the United States and South America. The most common are classified as seeded, seedless watermelons, mini and yellow. The Yellow Crimson is a common watermelon variety categorized by its sweet flesh.
9. WORLD RECORD
According to Guinness World Records, the world’s heaviest watermelon was grown by Chris Kent of Sevierville, Tennessee in 2013. It clocked in at 350.5 pounds. Now that is a watermelon, y’all.
10. AMERICA HEARTS WATERMELON
The U.S. ranks fourth in the world for watermelon production, with China holding the top spot. The top watermelon-growing states include California, Arizona, Texas, Florida and Georgia.
Americans eat more watermelon by weight than any other fruit and collectively, is a producer of more than 4 billion pounds of watermelon annually. Talk about a watermelon harvest!