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Watermelons, Fruit or Vegetable? All You Ever Wanted to Know Including Recipes

Updated on August 30, 2016
ThelmaC profile image

Thelma Raker Coffone is an award winning writer who enjoys writing on a variety of topics. She is working on her first fiction novel.


Watermelon: Fruit or Vegetable?

Most people are amazed to learn that watermelons are actually vegetables and not fruit! Originally grown in Africa but now farmed all around the world, the watermelon is part of the gourd family and is related to cucumbers and pumpkins.

This popular vegetable (I still can't get used to calling it that!) matures about 3 months after being planted with the peak season being from mid June to late August. July is National Watermelon Month according to the Watermelon Promotion Board. Forty-four states produce watermelons with the leading states in production being Florida, Texas, California, Georgia and Arizona and the United States ranking 4th in worldwide production. They are the favorite melon of consumers followed by cantaloupe and honeydew.

Tips on Selecting and Storing

My father taught me at a very young age how to pick out the right watermelon. He was a firm believer in the "thump" method of watermelon selection. You thump the melon with your fingers and listen for a dull hollow sound. It worked every time! Other folks swear that a melon is ripe when the side that grew against the grown is a creamy yellow color, NOT white or light green. If the stem is still attached, it should be brown and dry.

Some like to eat their melons icy cold while others enjoy them served at room temperature. Store cut watermelons in the refrigerator and cover the cut surface loosely with plastic wrap.

Watermelons are Good for You!

Heart Healthy!

Not only do they taste good but they are good for you too. Low in fat and cholesterol, they are a good source for vitamins A, B6 and C, and amino acid. They are considered to be the "Lycopene Leader" in fresh produce, having higher concentrations of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, than any other fruit or vegetable, even tomatoes. A 2 cup serving of watermelon contains 16mg of lycopene while a medium sized tomato contains only 4mg. That same size serving has only 80 calories and is 92% water.

More Watermelon Facts

Some watermelons grow to be 100 pounds. The Guinness Book of Records lists the largest watermelon at 262 pounds grown in Arrington, Tennessee in 1990.

The entire watermelon is edible, not just the delicious red center. The rind can be used to make tasty pickles and the seeds can be roasted in the oven and eaten.

Watermelon producing states each have a yearly ritual of selecting their own "Watermelon Queen" who travels the US to promote the vegetable (I REALLY can't get used to calling it a vegetable).

Have you ever seen a black watermelon? Check out the article at for pictures and information on this unique watermelon originally from Japan and now grown in Georgia.

Watermelon Cranberry Sauce
Watermelon Cranberry Sauce | Source

Not Just a Summer Picnic Food ... Watermelon Recipes

Watermelon is so much more than just a refreshing treat at a picnic. This cranberry sauce recipe demonstrates watermelon's versatility:

Watermelon Cranberry Sauce

  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • juice from one lemon
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 2 cups watermelon, cut in very small pieces
  • Chopped Pecans or Walnuts (optional)

Heat cranberries, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and zest in a 3 quart saucepan over medium low heat until it simmers. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until cranberries are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add cinnamon. Simmer another few minutes. Remove from heat to rest for 10 minutes. Stir in watermelon. Mix well and chill. Serve cold. I like to add chopped pecans or walnuts but that is strictly a matter of taste and keep in mind some people can not eat nuts.

How do you Rate the Quick & Easy Watermelon Pie Recipe?

5 stars from 1 rating of Watermelon Pie

Quick and Easy Watermelon Pie

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 cups watermelon balls
  • 4 ounce container non-dairy whipped topping
  • 1 9-inch graham cracker crust

Fold together milk and topping. Add lime juice. Fold in melon balls, reserving about 5 balls for a garnish. Pour into crust. Place remaining balls on pie to garnish. Chill for 2 or more hours before serving.

Watermelons Getting Ready to Ship for July 4th

A check with watermelon growers here in Georgia indicates that the melons should begin to peak about June 15th to 18th and there will be excellent supplies. The hot, dry growing conditions in Georgia will provide high-sugar watermelons and there will be plenty of melons this year although they may be a little smaller in size.

Watermelon Decorations and Useful Items

Decorate with a Watermelon Theme

If you are looking to spruce up your kitchen, think about decorating in a watermelon theme. There are so many beautiful items to choose from as you can see by the items shown here. And red is such a wonderful color to brighten up your kitchen!

© 2011 Thelma Raker Coffone

Please Leave a Comment About Watermelons - Fruit or Vegetable?

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    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 5 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      I know what you mean about the anticipation. I haven't had much luck this year getting a good sweet one here in Georgia. I have been a little disappointed.

      Thanks for your comments. Hope you like the cranberry watermelon sauce!

    • MomsTreasureChest profile image

      MomsTreasureChest 5 years ago

      The anticipation - cutting into a watermelon and waiting to see if it's a good sweet one, oh joy when it is! I'm definitely going to try the cranberry watermelon sauce!

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 5 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      Helena enjoy those Orangeglo watermelons. Nothing beats a slice of ice cold watermelon on these hot summer days!

    • Helena Ricketts profile image

      Helena Ricketts 5 years ago from Indiana

      Great information! I'm actually growing Orangeglo watermelon this year in the garden. My grandparents always brought orange watermelons back from Arkansas and I loved them. Watermelon is a favorite in my house for sure.

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 5 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      brittvan22 thanks for the comment from my fellow Georgian!

    • brittvan22 profile image

      brittvan22 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      love the hub voting up!

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 6 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      Jack thanks for taking the time to read my hub and comment on it. Love the pic of your dog!

    • Jack Rella profile image

      Jack Rella 6 years ago

      Interesting info! I always thought it was a fruit, now I know better =)

    • Aamna Aamad profile image

      Aamna Aamad 6 years ago from Pakistan

      My all time favourite, even if i don't get anything else to eat ill live on melons but to know it's a vegetable is something new, thanks for sharing the information.

    • Open Thoughts profile image

      Open Thoughts 6 years ago from Idaho

      I never thought about making a watermelon pie. Going to have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 6 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      From one Thelma to another, thanks for your nice comment.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 6 years ago from Germany

      Hi! It´s a very informative hub. I always thought watermelons are fruits. Now I know, they are vegetables. Thanks for sharing.