It is now springtime, dear readers, and that means that many healthy and delicious fruits and vegetables are coming back in season! As we foray our way into the Summer season, I wanted to stop and look at some of the nutritional benefits that some of the in-season fruits have to offer. This week’s fruit to wrap up the mini-series is associated with summer cookouts and celebrations. Let’s pay a quick homage to the watermelon.
The oldest evidence of the existence of watermelon was found in Libya, 2015. Archeologists found watermelon seeds, along with the remnants of other fruit in a 5,000-year-old settlement. The oldest written record of watermelon was dated 4,000 years ago in Egyptian tombs that belonged to pharaohs in that period, indicating that the watermelon served a capacity of cultural significance.
There was no other mention of the watermelon in text or trade logs until about 400BC to 500AD, where it was spread from North Eastern Africa to Mediterranean countries. It spread throughout ancient Greece, Israel, and the Roman empire.
As time passed, the fruit had lost its yellow/orange flesh only to gain a red, much sweeter flesh on the inside due to careful artificial selection, and was eventually traded and spread throughout the rest of Europe. The Bradford strain of watermelon made its way into North America due to efforts a captured military office of the American Revolutionary War, and it became so popular after he started cultivating it in Georgia that people risked their lives to steal the melon for themselves.
I provided the links to the source material in ‘Other Sources’ if you want to learn more in depth about the subject, but suffice it to say, the watermelon has an old and rich history.
- Watermelons are 92% water, meaning that it is a quick way for you to hydrate and to feel full without consuming too many calories
- They contain lycopene, which helps protect against oxidative damage and inflammation in your eyes.
- They also contain citrulline, an amino acid that helps reduce muscle soreness.
- Watermelons also have a surprising amount of vitamin C for a fruit that is not a citrus, 21% of a daily value’s worth to be precise.
- Watermelon also has Vitamin A, which is an important nutrient that helps in the repair and creation of skin cells.
Julia’s Watermelon Gazpacho
Contributed to allrecipes.com by Julia Garreaud, a woman from New Hampshire with a passion for cooking, this cold soup has a combination of flavors that are sweet, spicy, and refreshing. Click on the photo above for the link to the recipe.
Summer Shrimp Salad
If soup is not your style, how about a salad? This contribution to Real Simple magazine in 2006 by Frances Boswell really puts an inventive spin on both the utilization of watermelon and the concept of a seafood salad. The link for this recipe is in the photo above.
Watermelon Lemonade Slushie
Maybe you aren’t hungry? That’s alright, Food Network has you covered. This 5-star summer sensation balances the right amount of sweet, sour, and refreshment with this combination of watermelon, lemon juice, and herbs. The recipe link is attached to the photo above.