Did you know that August 3rd is National Watermelon Day? If there’s one thing we Floridians love it’s a sweet, cold watermelon and we now have a day devoted entirely to them. Watermelons make a fantastic summertime snack for the little ones, in fact, they’re one of the very few foods that will satisfy my picky 2-year-old. So in honor of this delicious fruit, here are some very juicy facts that I bet you didn’t know.
- Hydration: Watermelons are 92% water, which makes them a perfect take-along snack to keep you and your little ones hydrated at the beach or park this summer.
- Vitamins and Antioxidants: They have other great health benefits besides hydration. They have more lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation and destroy free radicals. Watermelons are also a good source of vitamin C and fiber.
- Florida is a Leading Producer: The US is the fourth highest producer of watermelons worldwide and Florida is one of the lead states for their production, along with Georgia, California, and Texas.
- Both a Fruit and a Veggie: The watermelon is considered to be both a fruit and a vegetable, belonging to the cucurbit family with cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash (so I guess my child does eat a vegetable).
- World Record: According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the heaviest watermelon recorded to date weighed a whopping 350 lbs;
- Variety: There are a lot of varieties to choose from! There are roughly 1,200 types of watermelon. About 300 types are grown here in the US (although only about 50 varieties are sold in grocery stores).
Now that you’ve brushed up on your knowledge of this wonder fruit, here are a few ways you and your little ones can get your creative juices flowing and celebrate National Watermelon day in style.
Pick Out Your Perfect Watermelon
The first order of business is selecting the perfect watermelon. Rype and Readi Downtown Farmers Market, located at 115 La Quinta Place, St. Augustine, has a variety of locally grown melons to choose from. We recently tried their delicious Black Diamond Watermelon which is grown in the Hastings/Palatka area. While you’re there you can check out the miniature donkeys, horses and a variety of other fresh, locally grown produce. Check out our recent blog post on St. Augustine Family Friendly Farms for more information about Farms and Farmer’s Markets to explore in the area. When picking a watermelon the rounder the fruit is the sweeter it will be. The more oblong varieties contain more water. This post has more helpful tips on how to select the perfect watermelon.
Make Your Own Sweet Treat on Watermelon Day
This watermelon lemonade is the perfect thirst-quencher on a hot summer day, plus it’s extremely fast and easy to prepare.
- 1/2 medium seedless watermelon, rind removed and cut into cubes (should yield about 6 cups of cubes)
- 4 cups of cold water
- 2 large lemons, quartered
- 2/3 cup of granulated sugar
- ice to serve with prepared lemonade
- Cut the watermelon into cubes
- Puree the watermelon in a blender until smooth (you may need to blend it in batches)
- Set watermelon aside
- Squeeze the lemons into a large pitcher
- Add in the granulated sugar and cold water and stir until sugar dissolves
- Pour the blended watermelon through a fine mesh sieve into the pitcher
- Stir to combine
- You can refrigerate the lemonade, covered, up to 3 days. If you don't have time to chill it, replace some of the water with ice. Now sit back and sip!
Cool off with a Watermelon Popsicle
If you don’t feel like going the DIY route, why not check out the Hyppo Café or one of the Hyppo Pop-Peddler locations in St. Augustine. Their selection rotates but they have a wide variety of watermelon popsicle flavors to try, including watermelon basil vodka and watermelon jalapeno (for mom) and many kid-friendly pops including watermelon mint, watermelon hibiscus and watermelon blueberry, to name just a few. I guarantee it will get your kids pumped about fruit (or vegetables?!)
I hope your National Watermelon Day is “One in a Melon!”