August 3 is Watermelon Day, an annual holiday that celebrates everyone's favorite summer fruit.
Made of almost 92% water, the fruit is full of Vitamins A, C, and antioxidants. So what are you waiting for? Go get yourself a few slices of watermelon to celebrate this delicious holiday.
Watermelon is an ancient food that is believed to have originated in tropical Africa. Historians have found evidence of watermelon cultivation as far back as 4000 years ago. Today, many varieties of the fruit are grown in warm parts of the world.
Because of its high water content, watermelon is a good thirst quencher. In fact, in the Kalahari desert, where they are called tsamma, watermelons are one of the main sources of water during the dry, hot season. In the past, people crossed the desert only during a good tsamma season.
Some studies have shown that the antioxidants in watermelon - carotenoid and lycopene - can reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
All parts of the fruit are edible - its flesh can be eaten as is, cooked or juiced. In many parts of the world, the rind or the thick green outer covering of the fruit is stewed, fried or pickled. In some parts of in the China, watermelon seeds are dried and roasted and enjoyed like nuts.
How to Celebrate
Celebrate the holiday by having watermelon for all your meals. Have a big glass of watermelon juice for breakfast; make a lovely watermelon, feta cheese, and mint salad for lunch; and for dinner, make watermelon salsa to go with your fish. And finally, make some refreshing watermelon sorbet to end the day on a high note.
Of course, have slices of the fruit as a snack all through the day.
Have a garden? Why not spend the day finding out how you can plant a watermelon plant in your yard. If you do it today, you'll not have to make a grocery store run to get watermelons for Watermelon Day next year. All you'll need to do is take a walk in your garden!
Did You Know…
…that watermelon is the official vegetable of the state of Oklahoma in the United States? There is some debate between the botanical and gardening community as to whether to classify watermelon as a vegetable or a fruit. Botanists all agree that watermelons are a fruit, while gardeners usually tend to believe that it is a vegetable given that it is closely related to the squash, gourd, and cucumber families.