At the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, 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.
Watermelon (Citrullus 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.
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 of Macedonia.
Watermelon crossed the Atlantic Ocean and made its way to North America with African slaves.
Watermelon does not contain any fat or cholesterol and is an excellent source of vitamins A, B6 and C, and contains fiber, potassium and lycopene.
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.
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.
Most watermelons weigh from 5-50 pounds, but some weigh as much as 100 pounds.
Because watermelons 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.