Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Watermelon. Fruit or vegetable?

In an earlier Blog I quoted the popular saying that Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a Fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.”
Well today I have a query for you: Is a watermelon a fruit or vegetable?
I ask this because, believe it or not many people have debated for years, whether a watermelon is a fruit or a vegetable, with some calling it both.
(The information below comes from the site called: “”)
Here’s why most people believe a watermelon is a fruit:
Watermelon is the fruit of a plant originally from a vine of southern Africa. The watermelon fruit, loosely considered a type of melon (although not in the genus Cucumis), has a smooth exterior rind and a juicy, sweet, usually red interior flesh.
Like the pepper, tomato, and pumpkin, watermelon is botanically a fruit. According to Webster’s dictionary and Wikipedia, a fruit is the ripened ovary of a seed plant and its contents, and a watermelon is a large oblong roundish fruit (2004, 2006). Consumers use watermelon primarily as a fruit because of its sweet flavor and refreshing qualities.
Now here is why others call it a vegetable:
According to Webster’s dictionary a vegetable is anything made or obtained from plants (2004). Watermelon is a member of the cucurbitaceae plant family of gourds, related to the cucumber, squash, and pumpkin (Maynard, 2001). It is planted from seeds or seedlings, harvested, and then cleared from the field like other vegetables. Since watermelon is grown as a vegetable crop using vegetable production systems, watermelon is considered a vegetable (Wolford, 2004).
How Watermelon is used as a Fruit:
Watermelon is popularly used as a fruit, to be a sweet enhancer or fun accompaniment to our everyday meals. The watermelon is often cut into bite-sized squares or balled, or very often simply sliced and enjoyed. It’s also used in the types of recipes that are created using fruit.
How Watermelon is used as a Vegetable:
The whole watermelon is edible, even the rind. In places like China, the watermelon is stir-fried, stewed and often pickled. In this case, the watermelon is being used as a vegetable. Pickled watermelon rind is also widespread in Russia. (Wikipedia 2006)
Scientifically Speaking, the scientific name of watermelon is Citrullus lanatus. It is a member of the cucurbitaceae family. There are about 120 genera and 735 species of Cucurbitaceae worldwide, with 18genera and 76 species native to southern Africa. Some well-known vegetables fall in this family such as watermelon, Hubbard squash, butternut, pumpkin, sweet melons and cucumber.
Thus in the end, it is all a Matter of Perspective as to whether a watermelon is a fruit or vegetable:
Yes. Depending on how you want to classify it, a watermelon can be considered a fruit or a vegetable. But no matter which way you slice it, watermelon is fun to eat and very good for you!
How Do I Pick A Good Watermelon?
Some people like to tap a watermelon and listen for a “thump.” Although folks rely on that method, we’ve found following these tips will help pick the best watermelon available.
1. Look it over, choose a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free of bruises, cuts and dents.
2. Lift it up – the watermelon should feel heavy for its size – it is 92% water.
3. Turn it over – on the underside of the watermelon there should be a creamy, yellow spot
(called the ground spot) from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.
What’s the Proper Temperature for Storing Watermelon?
Store whole watermelon on the warm side. Compared to most fruits, watermelons need a more "tropical" climate - a thermometer reading of 55° F is ideal. However, whole melons will keep for 7 to 10 days at room temperature. Store them too long, and they'll lose flavor and texture.
Lower temperatures cause chill injury
After two days at 32° F, watermelons develop an off-flavor, become pitted and lose color. Freezing causes rind to
break down and produces a mealy, mushy texture. Once a melon is cut, it should be wrapped and stored at 37° - 39° F.
Well, now you know as much, if not more than me, about watermelons, so? What do you think? Vegetable or Fruit? Tell us what you think and then we will ask whether you think a Pumpkin is a fruit or vegetable?

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