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.
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.
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
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.
Carolina 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
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
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
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 slice.
- Jose Juan Tablada
The high-water content ensures you stay hydrated during the heat of the
For those looking to lose weight, a short period of just eating melons
can be a great way to shed pounds and start feeling