the year of LIVING UNOFFICIALLY

365 days of celebration

03
August

National Watermelon Day

Posted by Brittany

National Watermelon DayAugust 3rd is National Watermelon Day, a day to celebrate the delicious and nutritious staple of picnics and backyard barbecues. Watermelon most likely originated in southern Africa, where it grows on a vine-like flowering plant and comes in a diverse array of varieties ranging from sweet to bitter. Historians believe it was introduced to the Native Americans in the 16th century. Today there are over 1,200 varieties available. The fruit can be produced in different cloors, including white, yellow, red and pink, and can range in size from less than one pound to over 200! Watermelon is served in many different forms — it can be used in salads, salsas, and wines, and some places in the Souteastern U.S. even pickle the nutrient-filled rinds! In Japan a cubic watermelon has been bred for easy packing and shipping, but since it tends to be more expensive than traditional versions, it’s mostly purchased for it’s novelty.

Even though we residents of Northern Virginia like to believe that “the South” starts in Richmond, we’re still southern enough to have a lot of love for the watermelon. Fruit salads and sliced watermelon are great summertime treats here, and I’m always willing to slap a large wedge onto my plate. And the watermelon offers us a lot more than vitamins: there’s something kind of fun about spitting out seeds as you take a juicy bite, and watermelons can make some pretty awesome art. When Chris and I embarked on the Disney Cruise for our honeymoon almost two years ago several of the onboard buffets featured carved watermelon centerpieces. I’d never realized it, but since the color of a watermelon changes from dark green, to light whitish-green, to pink, to red as you carve deeper, there’s a lot that can be done with it sculpturally. But even if you don’t have an appreciation for food art and you don’t like the taste of watermelon, you can always turn to famed 1980′s comedian Gallagher to see a few get smashed with his giant “Sledge-O-Matic.”

To celebrate National Watermelon Day Chris and I stopped at the grocery store on our way home from work to pick up a giant fresh watermelon. I used some of the knew-found knowledge I’d gained while researching today’s “unofficial” to offer tips on how we could pick out a good specimen: it should be heavy and display a buttery yellow spot (the “ground spot”) from where it sat while it was ripening.

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