Square WatermelonsCredit: http://www.snopes.com/photos/odd/watermelon.asp#photo2

About the size of human head, watermelons are a summer staple.  A fleshy red fruit with a hard rind, it’s a juicy treat that a delight to eat when the temperature rises. As far as weight goes, it’s the most eaten melon in the United States.  With 92% of the fruit being made out of water, it’s no surprise that it is called ‘watermelon’. But, there are a few things about the fruit that may catch you off guard.

They Can Explode

Recently in China, there has been a problem with exploding watermelons.  While some explosions have been suggested to be the results of the over use of a growth chemical, many chemical free melons have also exploded.  Whether Exploded watermelonsCredit: http://www.news.com.au/weird-true-freaky/fields-of-watermelon-explode-in-china/story-e6frflri-1226058156163the reason is weather or something else still remains a mystery, but the action hasn’t officially been linked to the growth chemical. 

They Float

Due to their size, you wouldn’t expect a watermelon to float, but it does.  In fact, if you cover one with Vaseline and throw it into the pool it makes a rather slippery ball great for water games.  Have teams try to get a watermelon from one side of the pool to another, or a competition to see who can transport their watermelon across the pool first.  They’re rather hard to hold on to and swim with.

They’re From Africa

The fruit is natively from tropical Africa, and was first cultivated in the Nile Valley during the Bronze Age.  By the 10th century AD it was being grown in China, the country today is the world’s largest watermelon producer, but the fruit wasn’t introduced to Europe till the 13th century.  Three centuries later, watermelons were introduced to Native Americans.

The Rind is Edible

Most people don’t eat the rind because it tastes awful, but it is edible and contains nutrients. They are sometimes used as vegetables, but are rarely eaten raw. Instead, watermelon rinds are stewed, stir-fried, or pickled. Pickled rinds can be found in the South, but they’re rather rare in other areas of the United States.

They’re Rich in Antioxidants

Lycopene, a nutrient found in watermelons , has been linked to reducing prostate cancer and lowering the risk of hypertension and heart disease.  Interestingly, lycopene levels increase in the uncut fruit when it’s storied at room temperature as opposed to being refrigerated. The most plentiful nutrients in the fruit are vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin B6.