Hello my dear readers,
I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Unfortunately is always too short but hey, someone need to carry on the stuffs in this world, right?
This week I would like to share with you one of my favourite summer fruits: watermelon.
Cool, rich in water, vitamins and lycopene, watermelon is the most loved food of the summer.
According to a legend, because of its ball shape, it was one of the first playing instruments of the gods. Can you imagine this gods using the watermelon as a ball?
Originally from tropical Africa, watermelon is mentioned in the hieroglyphics of Ancient Egypt from five thousand years ago. According to the Egyptian religion, the watermelon, born from the seed of the god Seth, divinity of the desert and the dead, was often laid in the tombs of the pharaohs as a form of support for the afterlife. The nobles offered it to visiting guests to restore them from fatigue and thirst.
Watermelon (Citrullus Vulgaris) belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, such as cucumbers, courgettes, melons and pumpkins. Each plant can produce 100 fruits, generally oval and large, and can reach even 20 kg.
Worldwide, watermelon cultivation affects about 1,500,000 hectares and is particularly widespread in Russia, Turkey, Brazil and in the United States.
There are 50 varieties of watermelon, of different appearance: round, oval, baby, with bright green striped or spotted skin, with white or yellow spots.
And also the watermelon loves the warm climates, just like me 😎🤩
The watermelon, like the melon, is native from warm climates, the seed is born above 24 degrees Celsius and then grows well in temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius, for this is a typical summer fruit and if the climate is a bit stiff you need to cover it with black sheets to warm the plants better. A temperature below 14 degrees Celsius can stop its growth affecting the harvest.
The soil to cultivate the watermelon must be rich and not arid, tendentially acidic (ph above 5.5). It is a cultivation that requires water and nutrients. Like many plants, the watermelon also fears the stagnation of water that causes root rot, for which the soil is prepared with deep digging and enriched by fertilising with manure, compost or pollen, the watermelon loves a rich fertilisation. If you want the watermelon to be sweet, need to make sure there is a good presence of potassium in the soil if it is not enriched with fertiliser or you can also use ashes if you have.
If you are sowing the watermelon in a pot, then you can start doing it in spring, around March, but make sure you keep it in a protected place. Otherwise, especially if sown in the open field, it is best done between April and May to avoid the risk of low temperatures or late frosts. Even the transplantation in the garden should not be done before April.
It is essential to guarantee water to the watermelons, frequent irrigation is needed during germination and transplantation, with the growth of the plant an increasing quantity of water is needed because the roots do not go particularly deep. Don’t irrigate it before the harvest otherwise the fruit will be too watery.
For a small domestic vegetable garden the best is to use the Sugar Baby variety, which is a very sweet small watermelon that generally does not exceed 5 kg.
Rich in water, vitamins and potassium, watermelon stimulates diuresis and is very appreciated by those who follow a low-calorie diet or are looking for foods to help control hunger.
So why not take advantage of its nutritional qualities and use it as an ingredient in the kitchen?
A few of the best recipes with watermelon: delicious appetisers, vegetarian first courses, light second courses and mouth-watering cold desserts that will certainly make your mouth water. And what if I tell you that you can create an entire menu based on this refreshing fruit: from skewers with watermelon to cold rice with watermelon, from turkey cut with watermelon to watermelon granita.
Watermelon contains good amount of carotenoids (Vitamin A), water and mineral salts. According to nutritionists and the latest scientific research, watermelon is the fruit of summer with an inexhaustible source of well-being.
Lycopene, present in the pulp, which gives its typical red color, has antioxidant powers, important in particular for the prevention of prostate and breast cancers. The watermelon pulp is composed of 92% water and 8% sugars. For this reason its consumption is indicated in the summer diet, as it helps fight dehydration during the hottest days, basically allowing us to drink while eating. In summer, eating watermelon protects the skin from the risks associated with excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays.
Moreover, it is a natural ally for the reduction of bad cholesterol and allows to keep the weight under control, being fat-free and low in sugar. Even those who are careful to the silhouette, can eat watermelon without worrying, taking advantage of the benefits of this water-rich fruit that stimulates diuresis and eliminate the toxins. You don’t believe me? Just think that 100 grams of watermelon contain only 30 calories. That’s not all, citrulline, a substance found in the white part, makes this fruit suitable for preventing hypertension and heart disease, as well as being known for its aphrodisiac properties.
Watermelon consumption can also help improve sleep quality. Eating a couple of slices after dinner, in fact, stimulates the production of serotonin in the body, due to its carbohydrate content, favoring peaceful sleep. In the summer, you know, the heat can drain your energy. Eating a nice and fresh slice of watermelon can help us “recharge the batteries”. This happens because of its vitamin B6 content, which the body uses to synthesize dopamine, a promoter of wellness. Watermelon also contains magnesium, which is used by our body to supply cells with energy.
Of course, not all of us has the possibility to grown its own watermelon but usually in summer is very easy to find it to buy. But how to understand if we are choosing a good watermelon or not?
First, the stalk of the watermelon must not be dry. The point where there is the petiole, or where it was before being harvested, must be moist, with the juice coming out. This way you can enjoy a ripe and sugary fruit. A further trick consists in the classic test of the “empty sound” that is obtained by knocking lightly with a finger on the surface of the fruit. The noise must be dull. If this is not enough, look for watermelons with streaks and yellow spots. Finally, you can choose to buy watermelon from a trusted grocery store who will advise you or, better yet, let you taste a piece of watermelon before buying.
Now that you know the many positive sides that make watermelon the fruit of summer, how would you like to enjoy it? A savoury dish or simply a big nice fresh slice of it?
Here in Singapore is very common the yellow watermelon and I simply love it! Is on our table every week for breakfast 😉
Thank you for reading and for joining me in this discovering journey!
Join me next time and let’s discover province of Gānsù in China, which is in the first place for the production of watermelon, producing annually 79.2 Million Tons.
And last but not least, remember that no one knows better than you what you want in life! So trust your heart and follow your dreams! Believe in yourself! Nothing is impossible!
Have a great week!
Bye bye for now 🙂