Watermelons are thought to have started in India, but may have come from exotic Africa. They were enjoyed by the Historic Egyptians but were unknown in Europe until the thirteenth century.
In Italy, the watermelons became a symbol of Martyrdom of San Lorenzo- the Patron Saint of Cooks, every year on August 10th in Florence, it is famous with watermelon eating.
The high water content of watermelon means that they are low in calories; only 30 kilo calories per 100g/3 3/4 oz.
Fresh watermelon contains higher levels of lycopene than fresh tomatoes - a 2-cup serving of watermelon contains and average of 18.16 mg and one medium-sized tomato contains 4 mg.
A 2-cup serving of watermelon is an excellent source of Vitamins A, B6 and C.
A two-cup serving of watermelon is also a source of Potassium, a mineral necessary for water balance and found inside of every cell. People with low potassium levels can experience muscle cramps. A two-cup serving has less than 10 percent of the daily reference value for potassium.
Varieties of Watermelon
There are different types that are grown during the world but these are the most popular that you can find in your local fruit store.
Sugar Baby - a particularly sweet round variety with very dark green skin and red flesh.
Tiger - has a pale green skin striped with yellow or green as its name suggests.
Golden watermelon - have bright yellow flesh and a more delicate flavor than the red fleshed varieties.
Preparing and Serving
Watermelons are usually cut into wedges and eaten on their own as a thirst-quencher.
Cube or balls make an appealing addition to fruit salads and melon medleys. The watermelon salad is popular especially among the health conscious.
They can be made into sorbets, watermelon drinks and shakes are the most popular drinks.
The rind can be pickled and is sometimes candied.
The seeds can be toasted and eaten.
In the Philippines the seeds are dried and eaten, called Butong Pawkan- Dried Watermelon Seeds and consumed as snacks.