Watermelon – King of the Summer Fruit

Watermelon, with the scientific name of Citrullus Lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. et Nakai.  Watermelon is a type annual scrambling and trailing vine plant.  The fruit by its name tell us it has lots of water.  It is the best thirst cruncher in all the fruits.  Not only it is sweet and tasty, its seeds also can be used to produce oil.

It is cultivated in many places in tropical and subtropical of China.  The well known places include Xinjiang, Gansu, Shandong, Dezhou, Jiangsu, Dongtai and Lanzhou.  There are many varieties, which have many kinds of skins, pulp and seeds. Though it was said to be originated from Africa, it is now widely cultivated in tropical to temperate areas around the world.  The fruit was brought into China during the Yuan dynasty.

Can we really know if the fruit if it is ripe just by slapping it?  Theoretically, raw fruit contain more water in the skin and flesh.  Also, flesh is stiffer.  So when knocking or slapping on the fruit the sound more crisp, the tone is high; and the ripe melon sound muffled, low tone. The same theory can be applied to other types of melon as well.  Thick rind and/or small size melons will have higher pitched tone.  High water content will have higher pitched tone as well.

Other ways to identify a ripe melon include looking the part of melon on the ground, rind color of ripe melon will turn yellow; also, ripe melon will be slightly lighter than raw melon with the same size.

Watermelon prefers warm and dry climate but cannot withstand cold. Watermelon is drought resistant, susceptible if humidity too high. Watermelon also likes sunlight, watermelon has a long growth period, so it needs a lot of nutrients. With the growth of the plant, the amount of fertilizer needed increased gradually, and reached the maximum when the fruit reach maturity. Watermelon has strong adaptability and like loose soil with deep soil layer and good drainage of sandy mild acidic soil.

Watermelon species can be divided into fresh watermelon and seed watermelon. Fresh watermelon is the main type of cultivation.  Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Xinjiang and other provinces are the main production areas of seed watermelon in china.

Watermelon is called “King of the summer fruit”.  It is thirst crunching, sweet and juicy, it is the best fruit in summer.   Watermelon does not contain fat and cholesterol, contains large amounts of glucose, fructose, malic acid, protein, amino acid, lycopene and vitamin C and also B, A and a variety of aldehydes. It is a very rich nutrition, high purity, food safety food. The red fresh of watermelon has sugar content between 5 to 12%, including glucose, fructose and sucrose. Sweetness increased with the increase of sucrose in the later stage of ripening.

As for the watermelon seeds, it also contains lots for nutrients including fatty oil, protein, vitamin B2, starch, pentosan, propionic acid, sucrose etc..

Watermelon is especially good for pregnant women, it can as supplement for both the mother and the baby.  Even at postnatal, it can help mother to avoid constipation.