When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels
eat. -Mark Twain
On the fruit stand
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.
- Charles Simic
More poems about melons
- At the Louisiana Purchase Exposition
in St. Louis in 1904, Oklahoma exhibited three watermelons
with the combined weight of 334 pounds. One, the largest
of the Exposition, weighed 117 pounds.
C. Fred Andrus, an
agricultural researcher, developed the first sweet melon
that could be stacked, because it was shaped like an
oval, called oblong. About a half-century
ago, watermelons were round. They were hard to stack
and rolled around during the rough ride from farm
to market. Since they were also soft, all that bumping
made them crack and bruise. Today most
watermelons are oblong.
lanatus) are native to the Kalahari desert of Southern Africa.
The first record of
watermelon harvest is found in Egyptian hieroglyphics on tomb
walls dating back 5000 years. Watermelon were left as food
to nourish the dearly departed in the afterlife.
From Egypt, merchant
ships carried watermelons to countries along the Mediterranean
Sea. They were documented in China in the 10th Century, and
in the 13th Century were found throughout the rest of Europe
after being introduced by the Moors
A watermelon was once
thrown at Roman Governor Demosthenes during a political debate.
Placing the watermelon upon his head, he thanked the thrower
for providing him with a helmet to wear as he fought Philip
Watermelon crossed the
Atlantic Ocean and made its way to North America with African
- Watermelon first appeared
in the English dictionary in 1615.
Watermelon is the natural sports drink. It is rich in the
electrolytes (sodium + potassium) that we lose when we sweat.
Watermelon does not
contain any fat or cholesterol and is an excellent source
of vitamins A, B6 and C, and contains fiber, potassium
Scientists have found that watermelon contains more of the
health-promoting compound locopene per serving than any other
fresh fruit or vegetable. Lycopene gives watermelon and tomatoes
their red color and is thought to act as a powerful antioxidant
that may help to reduce the risk of age-related diseases.
Every part of the watermelon
is edible, even the seeds and rinds.
- Watermelon seeds can be roasted and eaten like pumpkin
seeds. They are a great source of amino acids.
During the Civil War
the Confederate Army boiled down watermelons as a source
of sugar and molasses.
Watermelon is 92 percent
water. Early explorers used them as canteens.
- Oklahoma State University
has developed a nutrient dense candy bar that tastes like
watermelon. The student Food Industry Club, with the help
of the Oklahoma Food and Agricultural Products Research and
Technology Center developed the the candy, called LycoTreat.
Most watermelons weigh
from 5-50 pounds, but some weigh as much as 100 pounds.
are so fragile, they cannot be harvested by machine. Instead
workers carefully toss them in a relay from field to truck.
Oklahoma ranks number
12 nationally in the production of watermelon.
- Watermelon is grown in
over 96 countries worldwide.
Watermelon snow is a unique
phenomenon in which snow appears pink or red and has a distinctive
watermelon scent. It is common to the Sierra Nevada mountain
range in California in the summer months at altitudes of 10,000
to 12,000 feet. The pink snow is caused by an algae called chlamydomonas
nivalis which thrives in very cold temperatures. The cells of
the algae have a gelatinous sheath that protect them from the
strong ultra-violet radiation of the sun at high altitudes,
and it is this sheath that produces the pink color and odor!
Unfortunately, the similarities end there. This particular algae
Back Ag Facts
Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom
Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom is a program of the Oklahoma Cooperative
Extension Service, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and
Forestry and the Oklahoma State Department of Education.