National Watermelon Day ©

Did you know that Thursday, August 3rd is National Watermelon Day? I didn’t either until a curious watermelon event happened last week on our July 4th freedom festival.

While the whole family was together at the farm celebrating, I took my grandson, Luke for a golf cart ride in the pastures, one of which is adjacent to a road that is a veritable watermelon hi-way where old chopped school busses, turned into giant pickup trucks, transport melons from the fields to local sheds for sorting and shipping.

As is our custom out in the country, Luke and I gave a friendly wave to the bus driver as he was going by; he promptly jammed on the brakes and proceeded to back up his bus a hundred yards or so. Luke and I wondered what in the world was up. To our delight, the driver jumped into the back, pulled up two beautiful melons under his arms and proceeded to carry them over to the fence and give them to us out of the goodness of his Mexican-American heart. I tried to pay him but he was off as fast as St. Nicolas on Christmas Eve with a similar rosy smile!

Having spent 30 years building school busses with Blue Bird I was intrigued enough to jump in the car with Luke and follow the bus/truck to the packing shed which was fascinating. Several bus/trucks were qued up to be unloaded onto conveyor belts whizzing watermelons to sorters, who packed them into the giant cardboard boxes we’ve become accustomed to at the grocery store and then fork-lifted onto waiting semi trucks for distribution all over the USA. It was a wonderful teachable moment between grandfather & grandson and Luke didn’t even know he was “in school”!

And now, to get you ready for National Watermelon Day, here are some trivia facts to insure that the readers of this column will shine at the watermelon party on August 3rd:

  1. Evidence of watermelon cultivation in the Nile Valley has been found from the second millennium BC onward. Watermelon seeds have been found at Twelfth Dynasty sites and in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.[7]
  2. Watermelon is grown in over 96 countries worldwide.

  3. Over 1,200 varieties of watermelon are grown worldwide.

  4. China is the worlds largest producer of watermelon with 71,754,604 tonnes produced, compared with 4,052,386 tonnes from the second highest producer, Turkey.

  5. Today, farmers in approximately 44 states in the United States grow watermelon commercially. Georgia, Florida, Texas, California and Arizona are the United States’ largest watermelon producers

  6. Watermelon is an ideal health food because it doesn’t contain any fat or cholesterol, is high in fiber and vitamins A & C and is a good source of potassium.

  7. Not only does it quench your thirst, it can also quench inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis.

  8. According to the Guinness World Record, the heaviest watermelon weighs 159 kg (350.5 lbs) and was grown by Chris Kent of Sevierville, Tennessee

  9. Watermelon contains about 92% of water and 6% sugar.

  10. I’m out of space but if you’ll go to http://www.facebook.com/VisitingAngelsofCentralGA) you’ll not only see a bunch of photos but also a recipe for Frozen Watermelon Lemonade*.

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!

PS Hope you win the seed spitting contest on National Watermelon Day!

Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com or search for us at https://www.facebook.com/VisitingAngelsofCentralGA/

* Frozen Watermelon Lemonade

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cups watermelon cubes, seeds removed

  • 1/2 cup raspberries

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • Juice of 2 lemons (about 1/2 cup)

  • 1 1/2 cups strawberry-flavored, calorie-free carbonated water, chilled

How to make it…

  1. Place watermelon cubes and raspberries in a blender; process until smooth. Pour through a sieve; discard pulp.

  2. Combine the sugar and water in the small saucepan. Heat, stirring constantly, just until the sugar dissolves. Set aside allow to cool slightly.

  3. Stir the sugar-water and lemon juice onto the watermelon raspberry juice mixture. Pour the juice mixture onto a covered freezer container. Freeze until firm

  4. Using an ice cream scoop, spoon the mixture into tall glasses. Pour 3 to 4 tablespoons of the strawberry flavored water over the frozen juice in each glass. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

CALORIES 99; PROTEIN 0.5g; CARB 25g; SUGAR 23g; FAT 0.3g; CHOL 0g;
SODIUM 2mg; FIBER 0.6g

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