August 3rd is National Watermelon Day in America. This refreshing summer fruit is the perfect way to beat the heat, especially since 92% of it is water. How did Watermelon Day come to be? Better yet, how did the watermelon itself come to be?
Cultivation of this refreshing fruit dates back to 2000 B.C., with the first recorded harvest happening in Egypt approximately 5,000 years ago. However, the fruit has undergone many mutations to become the watermelon as we know it today. There are now more than 300 varieties of watermelon in the United States alone with various shapes and sizes! Here are a few more fun facts about watermelons:
- An entire watermelon can be eaten. The rinds are typically tossed out, but they are actually full of beneficial nutrients.
- There are more than 1200 varieties of watermelon around the world. The main classifications are: seeded, seedless, yellow and icebox.
- The Guinness World Record for the largest watermelon was recorded in 2013 in Tennessee, weighing in at more than 350 pounds!
- Farmers in Japan use square-shaped boxes to grow watermelons in the shape of cubes.
- It takes about 90 days from planting to harvesting for a watermelon to grow.
- The United States ranks 6th worldwide in production of watermelon.
- Watermelon crosses produce boundaries. Since it contains seeds, it is considered a fruit, but it is harvested like vegetables and is technically a part of the gourd family.
- Oklahoma named watermelon its official state vegetable in 2007.
- California, Arizona, Georgia, Texas and Florida are the states that produce the most watermelons per year in America.
- Early explorers used watermelons as natural canteens to stay hydrated on their travels.
Want to celebrate National Watermelon Day with a refreshing treat? Sure, you can absolutely enjoy a watermelon all on its own, but click here for a few easy recipes to try that will have you loving watermelon even more.