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Watermelons have been quenching the thirst o the parched creatures of this planet since their early ancestors started growing in the wilds of South Africa countless millenia ago.

At 92 percent water, today's far-larger varieties are a summer's delight, both cool and hydrating.

There are few more enjoyable ways to start a summer morning than by slicing a 20 pounder in half and chowing down, and as a raw foodist I've come to appreciate them even more.

When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat.
-Mark Twain

The History of Watermelon

From fist-sized balls of fibery flesh to today's succulent giants, mankind has helped shape the small wild fruit into the hundreds of varieties grown today.

In an age before plumbing, watermelons served as a reliable source of safe drinking water, and sometimes doubled as wild-growing canteens for the people of water-parched regions. Watermelons Drink

When European explorer David Livingston trekked his way through the Kalahari desert in 1849, he found huge tracks of wild, uncultivated melons, which he described as a major source of nourishment for the people of the region.

At least as early as 2,000 B.C., they were being actively grown by farmers along the narrow strip of fertile land bordering the Nile River. From there they spread through most of Africa and then onto most of the lands washed by the Mediterranean.

Trade routes carried it to India, and by 10th century A.D. is was being grown in China. Early sea voyages carried the seeds to the New World, where it quickly became popular with Native Americans. In all of these locations, growers selected the watermelon varieties that best fit their needs, leading to hundreds of regional varieties that vary in color, size, taste, and drought and disease resistance.


Like all fruits and vegetables, watermelon has its own particular strong points. High levels of Vitamin C, Iron, beta carotene, and lycopene (in most of the red-fleshed variates) set it apart.

At 92-percent water, its liquid might be its best asset, providing a clean drink that's been filtered by a living plant.


Of the approximately 1,200 varieties of the fruit available, you'll sadly find less than a dozen in stores. These have been almost universally selected for their shipability and size rather than taste.

If you're willing to go hunting at farmers' markets, though, you can find some great tasting watermelons.

Watermelons yellow SkinCarolina Cross: Carolina Cross is a variety of giants, and the world's largest watermelon, weighing in at record-breaking 162 pounds, was a cross.

Yellow Crimson: Perhaps my favorite variety, yellow crimson has yellow-colored, extremely sweet flesh that reminds me of honey.

The Moon and Stars: Although I'd rate the taste as merely average, I love their design. The rind is purplish black with many small circles (stars) and and several larger circles (moons). I saw a curved one once that almost looked like an eggplant.
The Cream of Saskatchewan: I've had problems growing melons in my Connecticut garden - there's simply not enough sun and too short of a growing season. The Cream of Saskatchewan, though, is a notable exception. It's small at around 10 inches, with sweet white flesh and a fairly dark green rind.

Uses on A Raw Food Diet

Don't be misled. The fact that melons and other fruit have been stewarded by humanity does not make them, "too sugary," or "too hybridized." There is no such thing as too hybridized, and seedless varieties are not unhealthy.

One of my yearly summer rituals is to eat nothing but watermelons for a few weeks. I inevitably cut back on my physical exercise during this period to accommodate to low-calorie intake, but find that I enjoy the refreshing rest. I always feel great.

Summer's Loud Laugh,
of scarlet ice,
A melon
- Jose Juan Tablada

The high-water content ensures you stay hydrated during the heat of the day.

For those looking to lose weight, a short period of just eating melons can be a great way to shed pounds and start feeling fantastic.


Following Up:

Read about how to choose a good melon here

Watch a video on picking watermelons.

Learn more about interesting fruits.

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