Slowly, but surely however, watermelons are becoming more attractive for us to buy. New, smaller, rounder melons, some with red, some with yellow flesh, are appearing, and they’re frequently called “icebox melons.”
Watermelons were first grown in Egypt as edible gourds long as 4,000 years ago. Gradually their seeds traveled to the northern Mediterranean and up into Asia. Slaves, around 1650, are credited with introducing watermelon to colonists in the New World. They also introduced okra, black-eyed peas, collard greens, yams and “good luck” sesame seeds.
In Russia, they make a watermelon beer also cook the flesh down to become a molasses-like syrup. In Iraq, Egypt and other parts of Africa it’s used as a staple food, animal feed and a source of water. In Asia they roast the seeds for eating while the Orientals put watermelon halves down into brine barrels.
DeKuyper has distributed watermelon Schnapps for some time, and pubs in Boston serve watermelon ale. Watermelon grappa is popular, too. Many insert a bottle of vodka through a hole in the melon and enjoy the result. Continue reading