For many, summertime means watermelon-lovin’ time, and never has it been more appropriate to celebrate the favored giant, juicy fruit than National Watermelon Day, which is being celebrated Wednesday.
The watermelon is a special fruit — and sometimes vegetable (see below) — full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Here’re some other random facts you can tell your friends when the conversation gets dull.
They Come From Africa
It is thought that watermelons first developed in the Kalahari Desert and the first recorded harvest happened about 5,000 years ago in Egypt. Because of this, the fruit was honored by Egyptians in the form of hieroglyphics on walls of ancient buildings and by being placed in the tombs of kings to nourish them in the afterlife.
Watermelons spread from there by boat to European coastal countries by way of the Mediterranean Sea. It made its way to China by the 10th century. Watermelon ultimately spread across the rest of Europe in the 13th century thanks to the Moors.
Food historians think it hopped the Atlantic Ocean alongside slaves being brought to the Americas.
They Have A Lot Of… Water In Them
Watermelons are 92 percent water! Wowza.
These Days, They’re A Chinese Commodity More Than Anything
China is the largest producer of watermelons in the world, producing nearly 72 million tons a year. China is followed by Turkey, which produces just over 4 million tons a year.
The United States, where roughly 200 to 300 varieties are grown, comes in fifth place with nearly 1.5 tons (but in America, things are measured in pounds, so 3.2 billion pounds).
It's The State Vegetable Of Oklahoma
They’re Not All Red And Green
In fact, they come in a variety of shades to fit the occasion! You can find the fruit in pink, red, orange and yellow. And, no matter the color, you can eat all of it if you want to, including the rinds and seeds.
There’s At Least One Appropriate Activity To Celebrate
Eat some! Or, if you’re BuzzFeed, blow one up with rubber bands. You can also participate in or watch a run in the fruit's honor — Check out this link to find the closest one to you.