Harvest of the Month: Watermelon

While we’ve all become accustomed to seeing big machines in farm fields and food production facilities, you won’t find such things around watermelons. The entire process of harvesting and preparing watermelons for distribution is done by human hands.

In that way, there’s probably not a lot that has changed about the watermelon in the thousands of years that it’s been grown. In other ways, though, there’s been considerable change: The fruit has been bred to be sweeter and more palatable than the first melons, which were prized in southern Africa more for their ability to store water than for their flavor. To get the best melon in your market, select a firm, symmetrical fruit that has no bruises, cuts or dents. The melon should seem heavy for its size, and if you see a creamy-yellow spot on one side, that’s OK: It’s where the melon sat on the ground while ripening in the sun.

Once you get your watermelon home, you can store it in a cool place up to three or four weeks before you cut into it. Once you do slice it, eat it within a day, even if it’s stored in the refrigerator. Of course, that won’t be a problem. Once sliced, melons typically don’t last long.

Download June’s Recipe: Watermelon Cucumber Salad

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